Sean Gorman did not see himself as a media star, but as a result of a 2003 story printed in the Washington Post, the doctoral student has since appeared on several television shows discussing his controversial doctoral thesis topic. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the George Mason University Law School’s “Critical Infrastructure Protection” project received research funding. It was at this point that his professor Laurie Schintler suggested that Gorman examine national security and the vulnerability of critical infrastructures for his doctoral thesis. Gorman did just that, and the question that motivated his research—”If I were Osama bin Laden, where would I strike?”—became the target of the media and government security officials alike, when his thesis results were finalized and defended.
Even before the thesis findings were defended, as Gorman’s work continued and its sensitivity became more apparent, George Mason University had to take preventive measures to make sure that his data was secure and protected and could not be cracked or stolen.
Blumenfeld, L. Dissertation Could Be Security Threat. [Online, July 8, 2003.] The Washington Post Company Website. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/ A23689-2003Jul7?language=printer; George Mason University. Doctoral Student’s Research Causes Media Blitz .[Online, 2004.] George Mason University Policy Currents Website. http:// policy.gmu.edu/currents/volume2/issue4/gorman.htm; Farlex, Inc. The Free Dictionary: Gopher Protocol. [Online, 2004.] Farlex, Inc. Website. http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/ Gopher%20protocol.