Laura K. Cooper, will be the first career Pentagon official to testify during the public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and House Oversight Committee, on November 20.
Cooper, who’s the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.Cooper, had made numerous public assurances to the Ukraine would receive military aide from the U.S., but by June, but then discovered that the White House’s Office of Management and Budget had put a hold on the funding.
Over the summer, the Pentagon conducted a legal analysis to figure out why the U.S. was holding onto the already allocated military aid, and determined the hold had no merit, which then forced the White House to say the hold was ordered by President Donald Trump. The military aide was not given to the Ukraine until September, after the whistleblower cam forward with information of the July 25th call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.
Here’s what you need to know about Laura Cooper….
1. Cooper Earned Her 2nd Masters Degree At The Premiere National Defense University
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Cooper earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy degree from the Industrial College of Armed Forces at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., which is now called the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.
As stated on their website, The National Defense University is made up of five colleges, each with a distinct focus that provides uniquely valuable education and leader professional development opportunities. At the Eisenhower School, where Cooper attended, under the guidance of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Eisenhower School Commandant and faculty prepare senior military officers, government civilians, and selected representatives from the private sector and international officers for the national security challenges of the 21st century.
2. Cooper Was The Most Low-Profile Witness Until Republicans Representatives Stormed Her Closed-Door Testimony
Cooper’s closed door deposition was delayed several hours after a group of Republicans stormed the secure area where the hearings were being held, and protested the secrecy of the proceedings. What made the entire public media display so odd, most of the protesters were members of House committees already involved in the impeachment inquiry, which they already had access to witnesses and the ability to cross-examine them.
Led by House member Matt Gaetz, dozens of Republican representatives, including Jim Jordan, and Lee Zeldin, attempted to block Cooper from testifying about about the administration’s decision to withhold military aid for Ukraine, even after it was approved in Congress. While the staged protest delayed the start of Cooper’s hearing, it did not cancel it.
The protestors also broke the long-standing bi-partisan rules of allowing media into a restricted area.
Democratic representative Eric Swalwell, who sits on the Intelligence Committee. said of the unexpected frenzy caused at the hearings, “They not only brought in their unauthorized bodies, they may have brought in the Russians and the Chinese with electronics into a secure space, which will require that the space at some point in time be sanitized.”
3. Laura Cooper Is a Non-Partisan Civil Servant
What separates Cooper from other key witnesses in the impeachment hearings, is that she works neither for the democratic or republican side She’s a civil servant who throughout her career, has stayed away from politics.
Daniel Fried, the former U.S. ambassador to Poland, said to Yahoo News that Cooper is a “capable professional,” and a “skilled and knowledgeable” civil servant. “I expect she did support the security assistance to Ukraine,” Fried said, though he could not describe her role with firsthand knowledge.
4. Cooper Is Responsible For Strengthening US Relations With Georgia
On September 11, Cooper met with Georgia’s Defense Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, to develop Georgia’s territorial defense capabilities. During their meeting, they discussed how U.S. and Georgia have a common share in global security and about renewing the process of the Security Cooperation Framework.
Afterward, Cooper stated, “We have exciting agenda moving forward and many opportunities to deepen our strategic partnership that is built on excellent work Georgia has done in reforming its Ministry of Defense and building its capability as part of Georgia Defense Readiness Program. I am looking forward for the future of this cooperation with the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.”
5. Cooper Previously Worked As A Principle Director For Homeland Defense
As the Principal Director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Affairs, Cooper was responsible for policies on mission assurance, defense continuity of operations, critical infrastructure protection, homeland counterterrorism, global antiterrorism policy, and the Council of Governors.
Prior positions held at the Pentagon since 2001 include Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Director of the Strategy office, where she helped manage the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, Acting Director for South Asia, Afghanistan Team Chief, and Stability Operations Office.