Former Trump NSC official Ezra-Cohen Watnick’s new role at the Department of Justice will involve preparing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for meetings of the national security council, sources familiar with Sessions and Cohen-Watnick’s thinking tell The Daily Caller.
Cohen-Watnick’s role will not feature any involvement with leak investigations, these sources said pushing back on earlier reporting from The Daily Beast. These sources further explained Cohen-Watnick’s role in investigating leaks during his time in the administration as a routine part of his duties as senior director of intelligence at the NSC.
The program known as the “Insider Threat Taskforce” was established by former President Barack Obama in October 2011 “for deterring, detecting, and mitigating insider threats, including the safeguarding of classified information from exploitation, compromise, or other unauthorized disclosure.”
The task force included representatives from several different intelligence entities, as mandated by executive order, and was coordinated by Cohen-Watnick in his role as the senior director of intelligence on the NSC.
Cohen-Watnick departed the White House in August 2017 for the private sector. However, sources directly familiar with the process tell TheDC Sessions called Cohen-Watnick three days after his departure upon the recommendation of senior FBI officials involved in matters the White House has taken issue with in the past.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Flores declined comment to TheDC, noting that Cohen-Watnick is not a current employee.
TheDC’s sources noted that Cohen-Watnick is slated to assume his new role within the next month.