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Member Spotlight: Mark Warner



Who are the FBI AIA? We are a diverse and passionate group of intel professionals who have taken our experiences and skills from the FBI to places outside the government. Get to know us a little better! This month, meet Mark Warner.


Mark, how long were you in the FBI, and what sorts of things did you do - what roles did you hold and where did you work?


I worked all 15 years in the New Haven Field Office. I started off on the Violent Crime and Fugitive Task Force, was there for a few years, and then moved to Cyber; I spent the majority of my time on the Cyber Squad there. 


In 2002, I worked in the Olympic Intelligence Center out in Salt Lake City, Utah for the Olympic Games. That was great, an unbelievable time. It was shortly after 9/11, so there was a sense of urgency for any type of attack that could have happened - and that was possibly the best venue that you could think of for something bad to happen. Luckily, nothing happened! I met a lot of great people, and it was a great experience to go out there - I was even able to take some time off and go to a gold medal round of figure skating with my wife.


I also had the opportunity to travel overseas to the Netherlands for a case that we had going on in New Haven that involved intellectual property crimes. The suspects were located in about 20 countries, and we had invited the law enforcement officials for those countries to come to the American Embassy in The Hague where we provided them all the information we had. I gave the briefing, along with the agent who was there with me, to the law enforcement officials from those different countries. We had an agreed upon day that we were going to do the take down globally, and it went perfectly: we got all the bad guys, who were surprised to know the FBI were in places like Hungary! We had a very good group of Assistant US Attorneys that were not only local to New Haven, but also down at DOJ Main Headquarters who helped facilitate: we weren’t able to send Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) requests or we'd tip off the bad guys, but with the global cooperation of the law enforcement agencies, we stood a chance. 


Wow, that's awesome. Both the Olympics and that case, it’s pretty awesome to be a part of those. So where are you now? And what are you up to?


I work for Aon in their Cyber Solutions Practice. Aon provides consulting services to clients, and our practice primarily works on proactive solutions for clients, getting them ready for (and hopefully never having to succumb to) a cybersecurity incident. We help them with tabletop exercises, with reviewing their incident response plans, we do assessments, and we even help with adversary attack simulations. We help them identify their gaps and where they can improve. We provide guidance on a number of different issues, from the governance side to the preparedness side, and the technical side, as well.


That's very cool. And so how would you say that your FBI skills have translated for you?


I would say in two ways: 


One is, with every investigation we had in the FBI, we dealt with uncertainty all the time- with not having the information in a timely manner, or the puzzle pieces were there, but you couldn't really put them together because you didn't have all the information that you would like at the time. That level of uncertainty really helped when I transitioned away, because I was able to break down problems and say, “okay, what do I have now? What are the gaps that I have, how can I fill those, and who can help me?” 


The other way is being humble. I think that every time you say, “I used to work for the FBI,” people assume you have all the answers - and you don't! But if you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, build a team and be humble about who you are as a person, and ask for help, people are generally very willing to help. So, be humble and be gracious in what you do, and everything that you do in life. Especially as I've advanced through leadership positions, people may look at you as the guy with all the answers, and while you may have answers, there's going to be those times when you don't, and you have to say, “I have no idea, but I'll help you - there's somebody out there with an answer.” 


That's very well put. And so what do you enjoy most about your new role?


I enjoy working with a variety of different clients, in different industries, with different problems and different levels of requests from us for help. That’s interesting, and it’s kinda like my days in the FBI, where every day was not the same. You get to interact with clients, either remotely - during the pandemic, a lot of the work we did was remote, but we're starting to get back to face to face interactions, which is great, and meet new people. I think it's the combination of the interesting work that we do, and our team - we've got a great team of people. We're also bringing on new folks who were either interns, or who have just graduated from college, and it's nice to cultivate new talent in the cyber area. It's great to see their excitement and their willingness to dive in. There is the cyber talent shortage, and I'm just excited that we're bringing on new people and I'm able to help mentor them. 


And this is always our final question - What do you like to do in your free time?


I like to travel with my family; we started a little bit of a tradition before the pandemic hit. I have an older boy who’s a sophomore in college, and another boy who's a sophomore in high school, and we started to get to the point where you can't buy a 15 or a 16 year old Legos and all the rest of the stuff that they enjoyed when they were little. So my wife and I decided that we're going to take a destination trip over the Christmas holidays. We've done a few trips, and we're going to be starting again this year with our boys; I think it's important for them to see the world, which is an opportunity they get through this Christmas present destination trip. It has been great for us, we're able to unplug as a family, and we're creating memories. I also love to cook,  spend time with my family, and go down south and hit the beaches in the summer.

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