posted on Nov. 11, 2003
William S. Cohen
William S. Cohen

Cohen was Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration from 1997 to 2001.

First elected to public office as a city councilor in Bangor, Maine, William Cohen held that position from 1969-1972; he was also mayor of Bangor from 1971-1972. In 1972 he was elected, as a Republican, to the House of Representatives and served for three terms (1973 to 1979).

In 1978, he was elected to the Senate and as a three-term United States Senator (1979 to 1997).

In 1987 he sat on the Iran Contra Committee.

Cohen was one of a small group of Republicans who were the first to break ranks with their party when they voted in favor of Nixon's impeachment..

Cohen became involved in a second constitutional crisis in 1986, when he was appointed to the select Senate committee formed to investigate the sale of weapons to Iran and the funneling of these proceeds to the Contra resistance movement in Nicaragua. At that time he was a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, which had been conducting its own closed-door hearings into the scandal. Cohen was one of only three Republicans to join Democrats in signing the majority report that held President Reagan responsible for the actions of those involved in the Iran-Contra affair. President Clinton nominated Cohen for Secretary of Defense after Secretary Perry’s announcement that he would retire from the position in 1996 because Clinton perceived the need for bipartisan support for the men and women serving in the military. [1]

In 1996, Secretary Cohen returned to private life to promote international business, and launched the William S. Cohen Institute for International Business at the University of Maine. [2]

From 1997 to 2001, Cohen served as U.S. Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration

In 2000, he testifies on National Missile Defense before the Senate Armed Services Committee, describing the inadquacy of 'Cold War security thinking and habits' : [3]

Cohen is currently on the US-Taiwan Business Council[4] He is also the chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group, a strategic business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.

He has chaired and served on numerous committees and study groups at:

An excerpt from a story the New York Times ran on May 23, 2001:

Turning Government Experience Into Corporate Advice

The promotional materials say it all: William S. Cohen, the former defense secretary, is shown chatting with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, sharing a smile with Nelson Mandela, standing shoulder to shoulder with President Jiang Zemin of China and in a "grip and grin" pose with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, resplendent in his African robes and dark sunglasses.

The brochure is to announce The Cohen Group, a new consulting firm, which is trying to sell nothing so much as Mr. Cohen and his relationships around the globe. After meeting with world leaders in his 18 years as a Republican senator from Maine and his 4 years in the Clinton cabinet, Mr. Cohen is bringing his wealth of contacts and experience to bear for American corporations — for a price.[5]

From an Oct 2, 2003 DEMOCRACY NOW story called Own a Piece of Iraq: How U.S. Gvt. Officials Are Leaving Public Office To Cash In On Iraq:

So, the opportunity in Iraq is really enormous. The business community in general is excited about the long term prospect. So, what these guys' companies like Albaugh's and George Mitchell's and William Cohen's lobby shop is selling is access to the people who are setting this policy and then understanding of how to best set up -- how to best sell their services both in Iraq and to the U.S. government here who is running the show there. [6]

Cohen was one of the original members of the Trilateral Commission. [7] and sits on the board of Global Crossing:

A top Clinton administration official, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, sits on the board of Global Crossing.

This is the telecom giant that went belly up Jan. 28 in the fourth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, leaving a trail of inflated revenues, top executives enriching themselves, employees and shareholders holding the bag, and Arthur Andersen acting as both consultant and auditor.

... The New York Times on Thursday casually dropped into the middle of a story focused mainly on the business side of Global Crossing’s problem the fact that "Global Crossing, which has tried to forge close ties with military organizations, appointed William S. Cohen, a secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, to its board last year.” [8]

Cohen prophesies 9/11:

September 15, 1997
The Times of the Ark-LA-Tex
From Staff and Wire Reports

Terrorism is escalating to the point that Americans soon may have to choose between civil liberties and more intrusive means of protection, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen says.

The nation's defense chief told the Army Times he once considered the chilling specter of armored vehicles surrounding civilian hotels or government buildings to block out terrorists as strictly an overseas phenomenon. But no longer.

It could happen here, Cohen said he concluded after eight months of studying threats under the Pentagon microscope. Free-lance terrorists with access to deadly chemical and biological bombs are "going to change the way in which the American people view security in our own country," he predicted in a Sept. 10 interview.

... But using the U.S. military in a domestic law enforcement role would require revisions to laws in force for more than a century, cautions Shreveport attorney John Odom Jr. "You can't do it from the Defense Department side unless Congress dramatically revises the Posse Comitatus laws," said Odom, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and a reserve judge advocate.

The 1878 law specifically prohibits the use of the military in domestic law enforcement unless authorized by Congress or the Constitution and does not allow for military intervention through action by the Secretary of Defense or even an executive order from the president, Odom said. [Search for articles on Ashcroft's attempt to eliminate Posse Comitatus]

"We're trained from the first day of judge advocate school to think of Posse Comitatus," Odom said. "If Secretary Cohen is suggesting that the Department of Defense be involved, it may be part of a legislative package, but it will not happen unilaterally without a lot of folks thinking long and hard about it."[9]

The 2002 joint inquiry into the 9/11 attacks was led by former CIA Inspector General L. Britt Snider, an 'insider', a special favorite of CIA Director George Tenet [10]. Snider also worked for Cohen:

Prior to his service at the CIA, in 1995-96, Snider was staff director of the Aspin-Brown Commission, which reviewed the roles and capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community. In 1987, Snider served as minority counsel for the SSCI for then Vice Chairman William Cohen, R-Maine, who later served as secretary of Defense. As counsel, Snider also served as Senator Cohen's staff liaison with the Iran-Contra Committee.

On May 29, 2000, a story entitled "Cohen Says Terrorist Threat Is `Real'" appeared in the Washington Times:

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen yesterday warned the United States faces a "quite real" threat of a terrorist nuclear, chemical or biological weapon attack on national soil within 10 years. [11]

In 1999, the U.S. conducted a 78-day bombing campaign over Yugoslavia.

During the assault , Defense Secretary William Cohen declared: "We severely crippled the (Serbian) military forces in Kosovo by destroying more than 50 percent of the artillery and one-third of the armored vehicles." One year later, a U.S. Air Force report revealed a different story (FN):

Original ClaimActual Number
120 tanks destroyed14
220 armored personnel carriers destroyed 20
450 artillery pieces destroyed 20
744 confirmed strikes by NATO pilots 58

A 1992 report by a House of Representatives Operations of Government subcommittee concluded:

"The Patriot missile system was not the spectacular success in the Persian Gulf War that the American public was led to believe. ... The public and the Congress were misled by definitive statements of success issued by administration and Raytheon representatives during and after the war."

Even Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, in January 2001 eventually admitted, "The Patriot didn't work." [12]

In 2001, a newspaper article attributes the idea for 'homeland CINC' to Cohen:

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2001; Page A01

Although the Pentagon has regional commanders in chief, known as CINCs, who are responsible for Europe, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and South Asia, none exists for managing the deployment of U.S. forces in the United States. Creating one now, military officials say, would clarify the chain of command for those troops.

The idea for a homeland CINC last received high-level Pentagon consideration three years ago, but then-Defense Secretary William S. Cohen quickly dropped it after protests from civil libertarians and right-wing militia groups alike. Critics expressed alarm at the prospect of military forces encroaching on areas traditionally considered the responsibility of civilian emergency response, law enforcement and health agencies. [13]

In a 1998 TV documentary (Frontline) Cohen is quoted as having said:

" the extent that any country were to attack us with nuclear weapons then we obviously have a nuclear response. With respect to biologicals and chemicals, we have indicated it would be a swift, devastating response and overwhelming force. We have not indicated what that might entail. We've left that deliberately open." Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in an interview for the PBS "Frontline" program "Plague Wars" aired on 10.13.98

In 2000, Cohen predicted a catastrophic terrorist attack:

Sept/Oct2000: Clinton and his defense secretary both seem to believe that a terrorist disaster of catastrophic proportions is not a matter of if, but when. "There is not a moment to lose," Cohen says, conjuring up images of "a plague more monstrous than anything we have experienced." Appearing on ABC's "This Week" in November 1997, Cohen plopped a five-pound bag of sugar on the table and claimed that an equivalent amount of anthrax could kill 300,000 people. - Motherjones: [14]

Cohen discusses 9/11 after the fact:

Cohen Urges USTA to Help Change 'Obsolete' Rules
By Bill Scanlon, eWEEK
October 9, 2001

Terrorists struck at the heart of the United States because Americans had grown "lazy, soft and indulgent," former Defense Secretary William Cohen told 2,000 people at the 104th annual convention of the U.S. Telecom Association in Phoenix on Monday.

"We had become a land of lotus-eaters," Cohen told the gathering. "We had grown lazy in our border patrols, in our immigration policy and in our support for the military. We believed that no one would dare attack us. That illusion was shattered."

Cohen, defense secretary under President Clinton, said the telecom industry should help change "obsolete'' rules that shield terrorists from detection, but insisted that information gathered from innocent Internet users isn't distributed or abused.

... "Do we want to say that suspected terrorists have the freedom to communicate without any ability of domestic law enforcement agencies to intercept those communications through the Internet or e-mail?'' he asked rhetorically. ...

... Earlier, USTA chief executive Walter McCormick ... reiterated the USTA's support for deregulation ... ... it's time for Congress to loosen the tethers on an industry that is no longer monopolistic.

Cohen's 1997 anthrax vaccine:

"The technology behind the [anthrax infected] Daschle letter, later the Leahy letter, was very sophisticated," said Francis Boyle, professor of law at the University of Illinois and a principal author of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.

"(It contained) a trillion spores per gram," Boyle said. "That is super-weapons grade. Second, tied in there was a special treatment to eliminate electrostatic charges so it would float in the air. You have to have special equipment, special treatment, special everything.

"The only people who would have the capability to do this would be individuals who either are currently employed by the Department of Defense or the CIA doing biowarfare work, or had been employed by the Department of Defense or the CIA doing biowarfare work."

According to BioPort, which counts the Pentagon as its only anthrax-vaccine customer, over 2 million doses of its vaccines "have been given to over 500,000 service men and women." But some critics contend the company may come to regret even mentioning the AVIP in its bid to add the compound to the nation's civilian preparedness arsenal.

Originally known as the "total-force anthrax vaccination program," AVIP was launched by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen in late 1997. Cohen's original order called for all 2.4 million members of the active and reserve armed forces to receive six shots of the vaccine over an 18-month period, followed by annual booster shots. [15]

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