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Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner Speaks at Mason

From: The Docket, posted 9/11/2006
By: Tracy Hartman

Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner Speaks at George Mason School of LawFormer Governor of Virginia and presidential hopeful for 2008 Mark Warner visited GMU Law on Tuesday, to speak about national security on the eve of the five-year 9/11 anniversary.

The speech, sponsored by George Mason University's Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, laid out a plan to reform the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Warner gave specific examples of DHS failures, evoking images of the days after 9/11 as well as the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to point out that America is not well-equipped to handle such disasters.

Warner described in detail his personal experience on September 11, 2001 and suggested that all Americans hold on to their personal memories of that day as well.

Warner explained that most of our air and shipping cargo goes unscreened, and that our chemical plants are still not secure. He also mentioned that FBI counter-terrorism agents only receive an hour of Arab culture training. The lack of information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence is another glaring hole in our national security, according to Warner. Sharing relevant information would enable local police to act on possible threats that are detected by intelligence overseas.

The political divisions in America today are hurting our safety as well, according to Warner. "Americans are sick of division— of the politics of Republican versus Democrat, liberal versus conservative, Red versus Blue," he said. He criticized the Bush administration for telling Americans to "go shopping," instead of "tapping that yearning to serve the common good."

Warner urged the American people to "move forward together in a renewed spirit of unity" in the greatest struggle of our generation."

Mark Warner is the honorary chair of Forward Together, a Democratic political action committee located in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Program (CIPP) is housed in the George Mason University School of Law. Critical infrastructures are defined by the CIPP as "the complex and highly interdependent systems, networks, and assets that provide the services essential in our daily life." These resources include transportation systems, banking and telecommunications systems. According to its website, the CIPP's research focus areas include cyber security, physical security, information sharing, and privacy concerns.

Alan Merten, the President of George Mason University, thanked Mark Warner for his support. He remarked, "the CIP Program has benefited from the encouragement of Mark Warner. It was a pleasure and an honor to have him visit us and address our community on homeland security and critical infrastructure protection."