David Cohen

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Research Areas

David S. Cohen is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center of a New American Security, focusing on intelligence, technology and national security, and economic statecraft.

From 2015 to 2107, Mr. Cohen served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. 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.  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. 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 against Iran, Russia, ISIL, al Qa’ida,  and other terrorist organizations. 

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, 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.

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