Editor's Note: What will GWB say at GSX? (redux)

Sept. 6, 2023
Security pros will have a front-row seat, but sadly, nobody will read about it (again)

This article originally appeared in the September 2023 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

At GSX, as he did back in 2017, former President George W. Bush will have a thoughtful conversation on stage with a member of the ASIS leadership team to offer his perspective on today’s most pressing challenges and global security, drawing from his eight years in the White House, his response to the 9/11 attacks, and working with world leaders.

And as it was in 2017, "no media representatives are permitted to attend any part of the event with the speaker, including media representatives attending in an unofficial/personal capacity."

Here's what I wrote back then:

I was really hoping to hear what President Bush would say to our industry. After all, this industry was remarkably affected by many of the security mandates the Bush Administration passed down in the days, weeks, months, and years following the Sept. 11 attacks.

I was hoping to catch a few words of wisdom about how Mr. Bush felt about our industry as the response to the attacks evolved; about how we all stepped up to protect our country. It would have felt good to be acknowledged for the role that the security trade press may have played in that effort (however insignificant those contributions may have been).

I’m not certain of course, but I am pretty darn sure there will not be any national security secrets divulged; however, for whatever reason is on the Bush/Secret Service side of the equation, I won’t be in attendance.

Here's how I feel today: Exactly the same. 

First of all, I realize and acknowledge that this is not an ASIS International decision. Back in 2009, Condoleezza Rice, who served as President Bush's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, candidly spoke at this same event in front of a packed house (that included members of the press) in Anaheim.

Ironically, in 2017 during his first on-air interview since President Trump was elected, President Bush told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show: "I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy...we need the media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”

OK then.

I guess my Tuesday morning is still free, but as I wrote back in 2017, I will ask all of you who manage to attend the discussion a favor: If you see me on the show floor or happen to catch me in the SecurityInfoWatch Media Group booth (4272), let me know something interesting that GWB had to say. At this point, it is simply out of intense curiosity.   

Other Options

For my fellow members of the media, and everyone else attending the show, there are a couple of alternative keynote options, and both of them also serve where geopolitics and security meet.

Radek Sikorski, chairman of the EU-US delegation for the European Parliament, will be speaking on Monday morning at the show. The senior statesman is an acclaimed expert and speaker on geopolitics and interestingly is a member of its Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA).

On Wednesday morning, former CIA officer and FBI Special Agent Tracy Walder will be speaking on emerging security threats in China and the Middle East, as well as other hot-button topics around the world, while offering high-level insights on their potential impact on national security and foreign policy.

See you there!

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com. 

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.