October 30, 2007

Paparazzi, Beware! Hollywood Stars Have a Secret Weapon: Israeli Commandos

When Kevin Federline’s lawyer wanted to serve Britney Spears’s closest associates with subpoenas during the ill-fated duo’s recent custody battle, he hired a former Israeli commando to get the job done.

Veterans of Israeli special operations units have found lucrative careers
helping Hollywood stars fend off stalkers and paparazzi.

While this service may not have necessitated counter-terrorism expertise, the ex-Israeli operative who carried out the mission, Aaron Cohen, has built a career on the premise that protecting celebrities has more in common with nabbing Islamic radicals than may be apparent. Cohen, 31, is the founder of IMS Security — short for “Israeli Military Specialists” — a Los Angeles-based private security firm operating in the hostile territory of Hollywoodland.

A native of Beverly Hills, Cohen has parlayed his service in Duvdevan — an elite Israeli commando unit responsible for capturing, and sometimes killing, Palestinian militants in the West Bank — into a lucrative, niche business back in his hometown. Hiring Israelis culled exclusively from the Jewish state’s top four special operations units, Cohen oversees the only private security firm specializing in bringing Israeli-style protection to the upper reaches of stardom. Guarding the likes of Brad Pitt, Jackie Chan and Eva Longoria, to name but a few, Cohen — with a minimum retainer fee in the range of $20,000 and a day’s work costing up to $1,000 — has applied the principles he learned detaining terrorists to keeping aggressive paparazzi and the occasional celebrity stalker at bay.

“Stalking is a form of terror,” Cohen explained in an interview in Los Angeles’s Fairfax district, sipping a cup of strong black coffee. “The formula is a lot like counter-terrorism, because you need to see who you’re dealing with before you freak out.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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