David Cohen provides clients with anti-money laundering, financial, and trade sanctions advice; represents US and foreign-based clients in matters implicating national security, including CFIUS and cybersecurity; conducts internal investigations; and defends clients facing government investigations. His practice has a strong emphasis on disputes involving US and foreign regulators and enforcement agencies, often involving cross-border issues, as well as proceedings in US and foreign adjudicative venues.
Before rejoining the firm in 2017, Mr. Cohen served for eight years in senior presidentially appointed positions. From 2015–2017, Mr. Cohen was Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he helped manage the Agency’s domestic and worldwide operations, oversee its strategic modernization, and lead foreign intelligence collection, all-source analysis, covert action, counter-intelligence, and foreign liaison relationships. Mr. Cohen also directed special projects on the impact of new technologies on the Agency and on how best to work with US companies to advance the CIA’s mission. At the conclusion of his tenure, Mr. Cohen was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest honor.
Previously, Mr. Cohen served for four years in the US Department of the Treasury as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, where he managed the department’s policy, regulatory, enforcement, and intelligence functions aimed at combating illicit finance, including money laundering and other financial crime, and disrupting financial support to nations, organizations, and individuals posing a threat to national security. He directly supervised the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which implements financial and economic sanctions, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the anti-money laundering regulatory and enforcement agency. Mr. Cohen was instrumental in developing and implementing sanctions against Iran, Russia, North Korea, ISIS, al Qa’ida, and other terrorist organizations, for which he was described as “President Obama’s favorite combatant commander” and as the administration’s “financial Batman.”
Mr. Cohen previously served for two years as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing, overseeing policy development related to sanctions and money laundering. Earlier in his career, Mr. Cohen served in Treasury’s general counsel’s office, where he helped craft legislation that formed the basis of Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act, the post-9/11 legislation that provided new tools to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Prior to his most recent government service, Mr. Cohen practiced law in Washington DC for nearly 20 years, including as a partner at WilmerHale. His practice at WilmerHale focused on complex civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance advice.