President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will appoint David Cohen, the man behind the administration’s international sanctions policy, as Deputy Director of the CIA.
The appointment emphasizes the key role financing now plays in the administration’s overall counter-terrorism policy, as the White House seeks to cut off funding for terror groups like ISIS, and put economic pressure on foreign governments that step out of line.
As Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Treasury Department, Cohen played an important role in developing sanctions on a number of foreign governments, including Russia, Iran and North Korea.
His office also developed the administration’s blueprint for going after ISIS in the financial realm, which focuses largely on disrupting the group’s revenue from illicit oil sales, ransom payments and other criminal activities, as well as barring their access to the legitimate financial system.
In remarks last October at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Cohen vowed that, “so long as ISIL terrorizes the people of Iraq and Syria, imperils the broader Middle East, and threatens U.S. interests overseas and at home, we will remain committed to degrading its financial strength.”
In a statement Friday, CIA Director John Brennan applauded Cohen’s nomination, calling him “an outstanding public servant.”
“David brings a wealth of experience on many of the issues that we focus on as an Agency,” said Brennan, “and I look forward to his insights, expertise, and energy as we address the growing number and diversity of national security challenges facing America today.”
If confirmed, Cohen will replace Avril Haines who was named Deputy National Security Advisor last month.