The move comes at a complicated time for the Intelligence Store, which faces deadly morale issues. In the last year of the Trump administration, he has drawn national attention to a series of scandals, including efforts to monitor protesters in Portland, Ore., And domestic journalists. Scandals plagued the Trump administration and led to the departure of the bureau chief.
Before these scandals erupted, Trump administration officials curtailed the ability of the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Liberties to oversee some of the intelligence office’s work. Under the Trump administration, the authorities also closed a unit within the office focused on the fight against domestic terrorism.
Cohen, who has over 30 years of law enforcement and national security experience, previously helped lead the office under the Obama administration.
Mayorkas brought him back to DHS, where he focused on the department’s efforts to combat domestic terrorism. Earlier this year, DHS assembled a new team within the intelligence office to focus on this specific threat. And late last month, Cohen told members of Congress in a closed-door briefing that the department was concerned about the spread of the plot that Trump would be reinstated as president in August.
The Mayorkas letter also announced that Samantha Vinograd, currently the Department’s Senior Advisor for National Security, will become Acting Deputy Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention in the Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans.
The announcement indicated that Vinograd had already worked in government for nearly a decade, most notably as director for Iraq on the Obama administration’s National Security Council. Most recently, she worked at Goldman Sachs and Stripe. She also provided on-air national security commentary for CNN.