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16 July 2009 – Mayer Brown partner Richard Ben-Veniste has been appointed to the task force formed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to conduct a 60-day review of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS).

The task force will assess the effectiveness of the current system in informing the public about terrorist threats and communicating protective measures within the government and throughout the private sector. Following the 60-day review period, the task force will present its findings to Secretary Napolitano. She will discuss the findings with other Cabinet officials before making a recommendation about the future of the system to the White House.

“I am honored to have been chosen to work alongside other business and civic leaders to address the Homeland Security Advisory System,” said Mr. Ben-Veniste. “I am confident the work of this task force and its recommendations will be instrumental in ensuring that the most effective emergency alert system is in place to inform the American people about possible threats to the country.”

The bipartisan task force is co-chaired by Fran Townsend, former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security, and Judge William Webster, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It comprises elected officials at the state and local level, security experts, law enforcement officials and other professionals from around the country.

Mr. Ben-Veniste’s unique background and qualifications make him ideally suited for this assignment. He has been a key figure in some of the nation’s most significant governmental activities at the intersection of law and politics, most recently as one of the ten commissioners on the bipartisan 9-11 Commission.