Ezra Cohen

Ezra Cohen

Chair, Public Interest Declassification Board

Ezra A. Cohen is chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board and an adjunct fellow at Hudson Institute, focusing on intelligence policy.

Prior to joining Hudson Institute, Mr. Cohen was the acting under secretary of defense for intelligence and security and director for defense intelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In this role, Mr. Cohen served as the principal civilian intelligence advisor to the secretary of defense on all military intelligence related matters, including signals intelligence, human intelligence, sensitive activities, geospatial intelligence, sensitive reconnaissance, counterintelligence, law enforcement, and security. In this role he exercised supervision and control of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise including the National Security Agency, Central Security Service, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.

Before becoming acting under secretary for intelligence, Mr. Cohen was the acting assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict (SO/LIC); principal deputy assistance secretary of defense for SO/LIC; deputy assistant secretary of defense for counter-narcotics and global threats. As ASD SO/LIC, Mr. Cohen was responsible for all policy formulation and oversight of Department of Defense counterterrorism, special operations, personnel recovery, hostage rescue, counter-narcotics, detainee affairs, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and stability operations. Further, Mr. Cohen provided administrative oversight and control of all organize, train, and equip activities for United States Special Operations Command.

Mr. Cohen also served on the National Security Council Staff, as the special assistant to the president and senior director for intelligence programs. In this role, he was principally responsible for the implementation of the president’s national security objectives through the vast array of intelligence community capabilities. As senior director, he was the United States Government’s strategic level policy coordinator for all intelligence programs and sensitive activities, including covert action. While at the National Security Council, Mr. Cohen, under his counterintelligence remit, initiated the comprehensive interagency review of Chinese malign activity.

Before joining the National Security Council, Mr. Cohen served at the Department of Defense in a number of international and domestic operational positions.


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