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pd01fe99 Remarks at a Memorial Service for Governor Lawton Chiles...
<DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page i-ii] Monday, February 1, 1999 Volume 35--Number 4 Pages 109-155 Contents [[Page i]] Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents [[Page ii]] Addresses and Remarks See also Meetings With Foreign Leaders Arkansas Community in Beebe--118 Community in Little Rock--116 Gov. Lawton Chiles of Florida, memorial service--136 Kosovo--143 Millennium Evening at the White House, fifth--123 Pacific coastal salmon, partnership, telephone remarks--134 Radio address--115 Social Security and Medicare, roundtable discussion--127 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings--141 U.S. Conference of Mayors--143 Virginia, employment initiative in Oakton--137 Welfare to work initiative--119 Communications to Congress Cyprus, letter transmitting report--141 Terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process, letter transmitting report--135 U.S. Air Force operating location near Groom Lake, Nevada--152 Communications to Federal Agencies International financial institutions and other international organizations and programs, memorandum on funding--143 Kosovo, memorandum on assistance--125 Interviews With the News Media Exchange with reporters in St. Louis, MO--127 Interview with Judith Miller and William J. Broad of the New York Times--109 Meetings With Foreign Leaders Vatican, Pope John Paul II--126, 127 Proclamations National Consumer Protection Week--151 Statements by the President BP Amoco's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions--122 Colombia, assistance in earthquake aftermath--135 Transportation Department's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program--150 Supplementary Materials Acts approved by the President--155 Checklist of White House press releases--154 Digest of other White House announcements--152 Nominations submitted to the Senate--153 Editor's Note: The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is also available on the Internet on the GPO Access service at http:// www.gpo.gov/nara/nara003.html. WEEKLY COMPILATION OF ------------------------------ PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents contains statements, messages, and other Presidential materials released by the White House during the preceding week. The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is published pursuant to the authority contained in the Federal Register Act (49 Stat. 500, as amended; 44 U.S.C. Ch. 15), under regulations prescribed by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register, approved by the President (37 FR 23607; 1 CFR Part 10). Distribution is made only by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents will be furnished by mail to domestic subscribers for $80.00 per year ($137.00 for mailing first class) and to foreign subscribers for $93.75 per year, payable to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The charge for a single copy is $3.00 ($3.75 for foreign mailing). There are no restrictions on the republication of material appearing in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. [[Page 109]] <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 109-115] Monday, February 1, 1999 Volume 35--Number 4 Pages 109-155 Week Ending Friday, January 29, 1999 Interview With Judith Miller and William J. Broad of the New York Times January 21, 1999 Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons The President. Before you ask questions, I just want to say that I really have appreciated the stories you've done, because I think it's so important that--it's sort of a balance thing, but I want to raise public awareness of this and awareness also with people with influence who can influence decisionmaking without throwing people into an unnecessary panic. And I think these stories have been exceedingly valuable. Sandy was making fun of me today before you came in. Sandy Berger was--he said, when you started talking about this 6 years ago nobody around here--people just didn't--they hadn't thought about it. Q. Six years ago. The President. I've been asking them to think about this for a long, long time. And of course, we had it more or less in the context of terrorism because we had the World Trade Center and all the other things to worry about. But anyway. Q. But actually, one of my first questions--because we've heard so many rumors about how you got interested and none of what has happened would have happened without your interest. But what was it? The President. Well, it was--first of all, I spend a lot of time thinking about 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now. I think that's one of the things that Presidents are supposed to do and especially when things are changing so much. But we had--keep in mind, we had the World Trade Center issue; we had the CIA killer; and then later you had the incident in the Tokyo subway and then Oklahoma City. We've had a lot of terrorist incidents, culminating in the bombing of our Embassies in Africa and what happened in Khobar, other things. One of the things that I have worried about from the beginning with the breakdown of the Soviet Union before my time here was how to help them deal with the aftermath of the massive nuclear system they have, and starting with the Nunn-Lugar funds, going all the way up to our threat reduction proposals in this year's budget, you know, we tried to hire--keep the scientists and the labs working and do joint projects of all kinds that would be constructive. But it was pretty obvious to me that, given the size of the Soviet biological and chemical programs and the fact that we know a lot of other nations are trying to develop chemical capacity and some biological capacity, that we had not only nuclear problems, but we have a chemical and biological problem. And of course, the Vice President and others sort of sensitized me to this whole computer problem. We had the incident with the defense computers just a few months ago. But before that, I kept reading about all these non--in the line of national security, all these computer hackers. You know, I'm technologically challenged. I can do E-mail and a few other things, you know. But it struck me that we were going to have to find some way to try to deal with that, too, because of the defense implications, as well as the other possibilities. And I've had all kinds of--I also find that reading novels, futuristic novels--sometimes people with an imagination are not wrong-- Preston's novel about biological warfare, which is very much based on-- -- Q. ``Hot Zone'' or ``Cobra Event''? Which one impressed you? The President. ``The Cobra Event.'' Q. That's the one. The President. Well, ``The Hot Zone'' was interesting to me because of the Ebola thing, because that was a fact book. But I thought [[Page 110]] ``The Cobra Event'' was interesting, especially when he said what his sources were, which seemed fairly credible to me. And then I read another book about a group of terrorists shutting down the telephone networks in the Northeast and the Midwest. Q. What was that? Do you remember? The President. I can't remember. I read so many things. I can't remember. A couple years ago. But anyway, when I--and a lot of times it's just for thrills, but a lot of times these people are not far off. You know, they sell books by imagining the future, and sometimes they're right; sometimes they're wrong. So I've gotten--I don't want to sound--I've gotten a lot of sort of solid, scientific input. I've also solicited opinions from people working on the genome project, for example, and about what the implications of that might be for dealing with biological warfare. And last year, we had a whole group of experts come in here and spend an extended amount of time with me and then follow up with the staff on biological issues in particular. So I've had a real interest in this, and I think we're about to get up to speed. But we just have to be prepared for it. I mean, it's--if you look back through all of human history, people who are interested in gaining control or influence or advantage over others have brought to bear the force of arms. And what normally happens from the beginning of history is the arms work until a defense is erected, and then there's an equilibrium until there is a new offensive system developed, and then a defense comes up, going all the way back to--well, even before it, but castle moats which were overcome by catapults. And so, basically, I think what has concerned me is that we, because we're moving from one big issue--will there be a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, to now a whole lot of proliferation of issues, dealing with smaller scale nuclear issues, chemical and biological issues, missile technology and, of course, the related computer cyber-crime issue--is that I just don't want the lag time between offense and defense to be any longer than is absolutely necessary. That, I think, is the challenge for us, is to try to--before anything really tragic happens not only in the United States but anywhere else. We've had enough warning signs out there now, enough concrete evidence, and we need to close the door of the gap between the offense and defense. Gravity and Timing of the Threat Q. How worried should we be, and how--we don't want to panic people. And research has seen some of these warning signs, and readers call, and they want to know, is this--how worried should we be? Is this serious today, and is the threat rising? Is it going be more serious in the future? The President. I would say that if the issue is, how probable is it in the very near-term an American city or community would be affected, I'd say you probably shouldn't be too worried. But if the issue is, is it a near certainty that at some time in the future there will be some group, probably a terrorist group, that attempts to bring to bear either the use or the threat of a chemical or biological operation, I would say that is highly likely to happen sometime in the next few years. And therefore, I would say the appropriate response is not worry or panic but taking this issue very seriously, expecting all elected officials with any responsibility in this area to know everything they can, and to do everything we can both to erect all possible defenses and then to try to make sure we are doing everything we can to stop this. Now, we know right now--we know that a lot of what we've done already has delayed WMD programs, some of which I can't talk about, but slowed the development of WMD programs of missile technology development that might deliver such weapons and other things. And we're doing everything we can to stop or slow down the ability of others, insofar as we know about it and can do something about it. And meanwhile, we're doing everything we can both to develop defenses and emergency responses. But I think we've got an enormous amount of work out there ahead of us, an enormous amount of work. And a lot of this has to be done with great cooperation between the Federal Government--we need cooperation of the private sector on the cyber issues, the computer [[Page 111]] issues. We need cooperation with local government on public health response issues, exposure--if there appears to be an outbreak. We had all these sort of false alarms of anthrax in California--how many?--more than a dozen, I think, in the last month. So we need to be able to diagnose and to treat and also to manage those things. Biological Threat and Developing a Response Q. Does one of these threats worry you more than another, and does any one in particular keep you awake at night? The President. Well, I have spent some late nights thinking a lot about this and reading a lot about it. I think in terms of offense
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