Welcome to the Reuters.com BETA. Read our Editor's note on how we're helping professionals make smart decisions.
Skip to main content

WilmerHale alum at CIA given waiver to consult with ex-director

2 minute read

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - A former partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr now serving as deputy director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was granted an ethics waiver this month to allow him to consult with ex-client John Brennan, a former director of the spy agency.

David Cohen left Wilmer, where he focused on national security, in January to serve as CIA deputy director in the administration of Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden. Cohen earlier served in the role from 2015 to 2017.

Ethics pledges can bar U.S. officials from participating for two years in matters involving a former client. The CIA general counsel's office on June 11 granted Cohen a "limited waiver" of the pledge, which he had signed as a requirement of his appointment this year.

Cohen represented Brennan in 2018 and 2019 at his request, the waiver said. The legal services were pro bono and focused on Brennan's ability to access his CIA papers for the purpose of writing a memoir.

The waiver said it is "customary and expected" for the CIA deputy director to communicate with prior agency leaders "to leverage their experience and expertise on national security matters generally, and the operation of the CIA specifically."

Brennan, now a national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, "may learn information of current interest to the CIA that he may wish to share with you as the deputy director," the waiver said.

Cohen was part of a wave of more than a dozen lawyers who departed Wilmer for leadership roles in the Biden administration.

Read More:

Biden taps former deputy CIA director Cohen for spy agency again

Mike Scarcella, based in Washington, D.C., is a legal affairs news reporter focused on antitrust and regulatory matters. Contact him at mike.scarcella@tr.com and follow him on Twitter @MikeScarcella.

More from Reuters