Most people know the name of fictional super spy James Bond, but how many people know the name David Cohen? The answer is probably a lot less, however, Cohen works to ensure the security of Americans every day.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence explained exactly what his sector of government does and how it keeps U.S. citizens safe.
Cohen explained that it is enormously important that financial institutions are able to detect transactions that are either being conducted by individuals who are sanctioned or who are otherwise suspicious. From there, those organizations need to be able to isolate those transactions and prevent those transactions. It is up to his department to ensure that happens, he said.
According to Cohen, the U.S. will rely increasingly on financial tools rather than military weapons to solve major foreign-policy problems as President Barack Obama signals less reliance on the military.
Cohen added that this was the only finance ministry in the world with an in-house intelligence unit.
"Financial intelligence is also useful for others in the administration,” he told the news source. “It’s useful in the areas of combat to help map out network that our military wants to more precisely target. Financial trails don’t lie: If you see a financial transaction between person A and person B, you can be pretty assured that there is a relationship between these people. It’s also useful in law enforcement."