David S. Cohen
David Cohen is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center on Law and Security. He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2015 to 2017. As the Agency’s second-in-command, he helped manage the CIA’s domestic and worldwide operations, oversee its strategic modernization, and lead the Agency’s performance of its five core missions – foreign intelligence collection, all-source analysis, covert action, counter-intelligence and foreign liaison relationships. In addition, Mr. Cohen led special projects focusing on the impact of new technologies on the Agency’s mission and on how best to work with US companies to advance the Agency’s mission. Mr. Cohen traveled extensively internationally, meeting with CIA officers serving in the field and foreign intelligence and political leaders, while also representing the CIA in the National Security Council’s “Deputies Committee,” the key interagency national security policymaking forum. At the conclusion of his tenure, Mr. Cohen was awarded the Director’s Award and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Agency’s highest honor.
Before becoming Deputy Director, Mr. Cohen served for six years in the United States Department of the Treasury, in two key positions responsible for “following the money.” From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Cohen was the Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. As Under Secretary, Mr. Cohen directed the Treasury Department’s policy, enforcement, regulatory, and intelligence functions aimed at identifying and disrupting financial support to nations, organizations and individuals posing a threat to our national security, and directly supervised two key regulatory agencies, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Mr. Cohen was instrumental in developing and implementing the financial sanctions programs that brought Iran to the negotiating table as well the efforts to deprive al Qa’ida, ISIL and other terrorist organizations of access to funding. Mr. Cohen also served as the Treasury Department’s principal representative to the NSC Deputies Committee. Mr. Cohen also led the Treasury Department’s efforts to combat domestic and international money laundering and financial crime.
From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Cohen was the Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing. In that Senate-confirmed position, Mr. Cohen oversaw the Treasury’s counterterrorist financing and anti-money laundering policy efforts. For his work at Treasury, Mr. Cohen was given the Alexander Hamilton Award, the Treasury Department’s highest honor.
Prior to joining the Treasury Department in 2009, Mr. Cohen practiced law in Washington, D.C. for almost twenty years. Immediately prior to joining the Treasury, Mr. Cohen was a partner at WilmerHale, where his practice focused on civil and criminal litigation, the defense of regulatory investigations, and anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance advice. Earlier in his career, Mr. Cohen worked in the Treasury’s General Counsel’s office, was a partner at the white-collar criminal defense firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, and clerked for a federal judge.
Mr. Cohen received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1989 and his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1985.