Biden nominates David Cohen to key CIA post

Biden nominates David Cohen to key CIA post
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE announced on Friday he is nominating David Cohen to serve as deputy director of the CIA, a position Cohen held during the Obama administration.

Cohen, a national security, finance and legal expert, is a partner at the international law firm WilmerHale, where he leads the firm's Business and Financial Integrity Group. In the role, he advises clients, including foreign companies, on compliance with U.S. regulations related to national security, cybersecurity and international sanctions. 

If confirmed, he is expected to be the second-highest ranking official in the CIA. Biden earlier announced his pick for CIA director as William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a 33-year veteran of the Foreign Service. 


Cohen’s nomination reflects Biden’s strategy of relying on Obama administration officials to fill key posts in his administration. 

Between 2015 and 2017, Cohen served as deputy director of the CIA and was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal for his service, the CIA’s highest honor.

The Biden transition team said in their announcement that Cohen, during his time as deputy director, helped manage the agency’s domestic and worldwide operations, oversaw strategic modernization and lead foreign intelligence collection, analysis and action. 

He also directed special projects on new technologies and how best to work with companies to advance the CIA’s mission, the team said in a statement. 

Cohen also has deep experience with the use of sanctions as a national security tool against terrorist organizations and state-sponsored threats. 

Cohen served as under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in the Treasury Department, where he supervised the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, developing and administering sanctions against Iran, Russia, North Korea and terrorist organizations. 

He also served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing. Before his government service, Cohen practiced law for nearly 20 years. He earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and law degree from Yale Law School.