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Biden returns David Cohen, Obama-era CIA deputy director, to his old position

Role not subject to Senate confirmation; the experienced official rose through the intelligence ranks as an Iran sanctions enforcer

David Cohen, seen here at a Capitol Hill hearing on Iran sanctions in 2011, was named to the No. 2 position at the Central Intelligence Agency. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images via JTA)
David Cohen, seen here at a Capitol Hill hearing on Iran sanctions in 2011, was named to the No. 2 position at the Central Intelligence Agency. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — US President-elect Joe Biden named David Cohen, the deputy CIA director under president Barack Obama, to his old job.

Cohen, who rose up through the intelligence ranks as an Iran sanctions enforcer, will be able to start as soon as Biden is inaugurated on January 20, as the deputy director is not subject to Senate confirmation.

His experience at the agency will prove useful to Biden as the likelihood increases that the president will not have any Senate-confirmed officials in place by January 20. Cohen’s Iran experience at Treasury and the CIA will also be handy as Biden seeks to immediately reenter the Iran nuclear deal.

Congress has come to a standstill as it deals with the fallout of President Donald Trump’s insistence that he has won the election. In the past, key Cabinet secretaries have been in place by Inauguration Day or shortly thereafter.

Cohen reportedly was on Biden’s shortlist for CIA director. Biden ultimately nominated William Burns, a State Department veteran with deep experience in the Middle East and in Russia.

Cohen since his youth has been involved in Jewish causes and issues. One of his first jobs was working for Nathan Lewin, an attorney who sought to defend the right of towns to display Hanukkah menorahs on public property.

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