Minnesotan Andrew Borene, a consultant on cyber-security and advanced techologies to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, was honored in May by the FBI for heroism unrelated to cyber-crime.
Borene, an attorney and former Marine officer, was recognized by the FBI's Washington field office with the “Director’s Award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest” for rescuing a woman who was being beaten by a man on a Washington-area highway in March.
Borene works as a Booz Allen Hamilton consultant to the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“As a result of Mr. Borene’s unflagging intervention into this situation, he too was physically assaulted by the male,” the FBI award said. “As a result of his efforts to help protect the life of a stranger, Mr. Borene incurred head trauma and had to undergo surgery to save his eye.”
Borene on March 15 pulled over in a traffic jam when he saw a man and woman fighting. The woman was bloody and the man pushed her into his car. Borene walked up and asked if he could help. Borene took the keys from the car after a brief struggle with the man. He yelled at other motorists to call the police.
The man then struck Borene from behind and started pummeling him. Borene, a former Macalester College football player and combat Marine, eventually pinned the man to the ground. The man was charged subsequently by a federal grand jury with attempted manslaughter.
“He sucker punched me and shattered my eye,” Borene said. “I got knocked out briefly. He didn’t know I played nose guard in college. I saw a video of it that [a bystander took on a cell phone]. I managed to wrestle him to the ground.
“I fractured my skull and almost lost my eye. I was never in close-quarter combat as a Marine [lieutenant in Iraq]. But every Marine trains for those types of situations.”
An FBI agent who saw the struggle, left his vehicle, called police and escorted Borene to the hospital in an ambulance. Borene underwent eye surgery and is expected to recover with only a small loss of vision. He said remains a bit weak and experiences some double vision.
“This is a huge honor for me to be recognized by the FBI,” Borene said. “It’s like an award from [my] heroes. I have worked with the bureau before as part of a citizen-advisory group, but my day job is not to capture people. I seek participation on projects among IARPA, the private sector and universities.”
Borene, 41, is a former executive with Bloomington-based Recon Robotics and the founding executive director of Minnesota-based Robotics Alley, a several-state industry trade group. Borene also is chairman of a cyber security summit affiliated with the University of Minnesota.
Borene's award was signed by former FBI Director James Comey, days before his May firing by President Donald Trump.