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Jewish Journal

Israeli commandos stalk Hollywood paparazzi

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 19, 2007 | 10:15 am


Rebecca Spence, The Forward‘s new reporter in town, had an interesting piece last month about former Israeli commandos serving security for Hollywood celebrities and oddities.

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.

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.

(skip)

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.”

Indeed, Cohen called the Spears subpoenas, carried out in mid-August, “pure counter-terrorism.”

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