"This is a mistake! You don't know what you're doing!"
Little is known about Cochran, other than he became the director for the NSA and worked with the U.S. government for an amount of time beforehand. Secretly, he was moonlighting as the leader of the Libertad Cartel, a drug cartel operating along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. He went by the alias "George Washington" and handled the cartel's online component. He also had contacts with an online network of hitmen, who he hired to kill targets. On December 2, 2014, he went to Fort Meade and requisitioned a report on a serial killer operating in the Libertad Cartel's territory, filed by a police detective in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Cochran later decided to take advantage of it by sending potential victims to the killer when he saw them as loose ends to the cartel. This led to the death of DEA Agent Mark Bowers and the abduction of DEA Agent John Portman, both of whom were working undercover to find "George Washington".
Cochran receives a call from his lieutenant Jillian Carter, informing him that she talked to Sarah Miles. He reveals to Jillian that Sarah is an undercover agent for the DEA, then instructs her to lead her to the serial killer's hideout. Cochran is then briefly seen talking to NSA employee Tony Axelrod, shaking hands with him, and leaving when Hotch steps in. Later, as the BAU begin investigating the serial killer and the Libertad Cartel, Cochran begins to feel the pressure and orders the hits of both Simon Kahn, an informant for the DEA; and Assistant DEA Director Bernard Graff, who he briefly tried to set up as a patsy in the investigation. The former hit was carried out by members of the Libertad Cartel, while the latter hit was carried out by a member of the online hitman network known as the Sniper.
After the serial killer is killed and Sarah is rescued (but not before John is killed), Cochran is identified as George Washington and the man responsible for leading the DEA agents to their deaths. Cochran is lured to a formal meeting, where he is confronted by Hotch, who relays his suspicions to him. When he says that Hotch doesn't have proof, Hotch tells him about the 2011 report in Fort Meade. He then adds that there is $5 million in Bitcoin in a Panamanian bank account that the BAU have traced back to Cochran. Cochran shrugs off the revelations, saying that it doesn't prove he is the one leading the Libertad Cartel. Just then, Axelrod and other NSA agents show up and borrow a pen from Cochran, which exposes a hidden flash-drive containing the access codes to the Libertad servers. Afterwards, Cochran is arrested, all the while shouting to Hotch that he does not know what he is doing.
After the events of Internal Affairs, Cochran was placed under solitary confinement at USP Terre Haute at the behest of Hotch, to protect him from the hitman network. He eventually caved in to the pressure and gave all of the information he knew on the network to Hotch and Garcia via video-conference.
Cochran always had others kill for him. He hired Sharon Mayford to kill a bureaucrat, contacting and paying her anonymously through the darknet. He did the same thing with Zac Rubenis when he wanted him to kill Bernard Graff and stage his death as a suicide. In the case of the DEA agents, he had Jillian Carter send them to Diablo General Store in Esperanza Valley, where they would be abducted, tortured, and later killed by Jacob DuFour. He had Simon Khan killed by a Libertad Cartel member (who had placed a bomb under his car) after finding out he was an informant for the DEA.
An official profile of Cochran was not made by the BAU, since they were focused on Jacob DuFour and the Libertad Cartel. However, they profiled that the person sending Jacob his victims was someone within the cartel, who became aware of Jacob's activities and has been sending him new victims as a forensic countermeasure. That person may have discovered the DEA agents' true identities or responded to an anomaly in the recruiting pattern, since it is possible the DEA agents were having difficulties increasing the numbers of their recruits.
Note: All of the following were victims by proxy
- Presumably numerous unnamed victims killed prior to Internal Affairs
- August 13, Tianjin, China: Unnamed bureaucrat (killed by a chemical explosion caused by Sharon Mayford)
- El Paso, Texas, U.S.: The following were killed by Jacob DuFour:
- November 12 (disappeared): Agent Mark Bowers (later killed on November 27-28)
- November 26 (disappeared): Agent John Portman (later killed on December 3)
- December 2 (disappeared): Agent Sarah Miles (was rescued two days later)
- December 3, El Paso, Texas, U.S.: