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pd03ja00 Memorandum on Providing Disaster Assistance to Venezuela...


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parenthetically, one of the benefits of our research into the human 
genome is that we'll be able to analyze these viruses much more quickly 
and come up with antidotes much more quickly than we used to be able to. 
Even now, when new strains of diseases--whether it's AIDS or anything 
else--comes up, we can identify them so much more quickly than we used 
to be able to.
    So what I think will happen--let me just make this point--the 
organized forces of destruction will take maximum advantage of new 
technologies and new scientific developments just like democratic 
societies do. So I think, just like the computers are all being 
miniaturized and people carry these little

[[Page 2675]]

pads around that have--and now you've got these gadgets where you can 
use as a telephone or a typewriter, do E-mail and all that. Well, the 
same miniaturization will apply to biological and chemical weapons. And 
if people should get nuclear materials that can be made into a bomb, to 
nuclear materials--which is why we've worked so hard with Russia to 
control access to that stuff.
    So we've just got to be ready. There will always be bad guys out 
there in the world who will try to take advantage of people's 
vulnerabilities.
    Mr. Rose. But aren't the odds against us, when you describe that 
kind of technological advantage--I mean, and just recently two people 
trying--in separate cases--trying to get inside America's borders with 
explosives--it gets more and more easier to conceal, and more and more 
the likelihood that an American city----
    The President. Well, if you go back through all of human history and 
you look at conflicts in weapons systems--and that's what we're talking 
about, biological, chemical weapons--offense always precedes defense; 
that is, you've got to know what you're defending against.
    So my goal in this whole thing, trying to mobilize the country on 
biological, chemical weapons, and make sure the Government is doing 
everything possible, is to close the gap between offense and defense. 
And the answer to your question is, we won't be severely--there might be 
incidences. I mean, the World Trade Center was blown up; Oklahoma City 
was blown up. We've got a guy in the laboratory in the Middle West, 
almost 5 years ago, who was trying to develop biological agents, 
political extremist.
    Mr. Rose. And there are scary ideas coming out of science, where 
viruses can attack certain ethnic groups?
    The President. Yes, there are people that----
    Mr. Rose. The potential of science to do harm is alarming.
    The President. But you know, it's always been that way. I mean, it's 
always been that way. And I think that I'm actually more optimistic 
than--keep in mind, no one believes that someone's going to come in and 
kill everybody in America. That's what we worried about during the cold 
war. And we still have to deal with these traditional threats. That's 
why India and Pakistan is perhaps--the Kashmiri issue is perhaps the 
most dangerous one in the world today because you've got two nuclear 
powers there who are somewhat uncertain about one another and why we 
have to work hard to avoid that.
    But yes, there will be problems. Yes, there could be terrible 
incidences. But I would say to the American people, they should, on 
balance, be hopeful. But what they should do is to support the 
leadership of this country in putting maximum resources into research 
and development so that we're prepared. And I think we will grow 
increasingly sophisticated in picking these people up, increasingly 
sophisticated in detecting these weapons, and what we can't afford is to 
have a long period of time where these offensive capabilities of the new 
age are better than the defensive capabilities. If we can close the gap 
between offense and defense, we'll be fine.
    Mr. Rose. What's interesting about a conversation about the future 
with you is that because of this office and your curiosity, you see and 
know more than almost anyone. I mean, you are aware because you talk to 
the scientists; you talk to people responsible.
    The President. I think about it a lot.
    Mr. Rose. You do?
    The President. Sure. I have to. See, I think one of the jobs of the 
President, because of the unique opportunity of the office you just 
described it, is to always be thinking about what will happen 10, 20, 30 
years from now, and to allocate some time and effort to make decisions 
for which there will be almost no notice.
    You know, right now, I mean, hardly anybody reports on or thinks 
about the work we're doing in biological warfare or chemical warfare--
the speech I gave at the National Science Foundation--but it's fine. 
It's what my former national security aide, Tony Lake, used to call 
``the dog that doesn't bark.'' And there is a sense in which there's a 
bunch of dogs in this old world you don't want to bark.
    Mr. Rose. It's the old notion about if the tree falls in the forest 
and nobody hears it, did the tree fall? Can you--are there things that 
we don't know about that alarm you? This sense of science and where it's 
at and

[[Page 2676]]

what's coming down the pike that gives you great pause?
    The President. Well, there are a lot of things that concern me. You 
know, we've done a lot of work--the other thing that, besides the 
chemical and biological weapons, trying to protect computer systems.

Year 2000 Problems

    Mr. Rose. Speak to Y2K. Where are your concerns, and do you think 
that most of those----
    The President. My concerns--well, they're much more traditional in 
Y2K. I think we've done a good job here. We've spent a lot of money--I 
say we, the American people, not just the Government, the private 
sector--we've spent a lot of money, tried to be ready. I feel a high 
level of confidence. It wouldn't bother me a bit to get on a commercial 
airline, for example, on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day and fly 
around. I think our systems are in order here.
    My concerns really are for some of our friends around the world that 
have more rudimentary computer networks and capacities and whether they 
will have a shutdown that they won't be able to immediately fix or get 
around.
    Mr. Rose. And make them vulnerable to what?
    The President. Well, if there were problems in the financial system, 
what if records disappeared and people lost money? That would be 
destabilizing in some countries. If power systems----
    Mr. Rose. And make them vulnerable to outside forces, to kinds of 
elements you mentioned earlier?
    The President. Well, maybe, but I think more internal 
destabilization. What if a power system shuts down in a big country with 
a hard winter? How long will it take to get back up before anyone would 
freeze to death? I mean, these are the kinds of practical problems that 
I'm concerned about.
    But I think that--I'm talking about something far more insidious, 
though. What we have to--this is, again, offense and defense. What we 
have to do--this technology of computers is changing so fast, and we've 
got a lot of whizbangs out there, and they can make a ton of money 
working for bad guys. So what we've got to do is to continuously work on 
protecting the cyber security, the infrastructure of the information 
economy, just like we're trying to deal with chemical and biological 
warfare and the miniaturization of weapons and all this.
    But most people are good people. We've got plenty of talented 
people. We just need to be imagining the future, thinking about all the 
problems as well as all the opportunities, and then prepare. Society 
always has problems; there are always misfortunes. But basically, I 
believe the future is quite promising and far more exciting than any 
period in history. I wish I were going to live to be 150; I'd love to 
see what happens.

Possibilities of the Future

    Mr. Rose. Would you like to be cloned?
    The President. No. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. [Laughter]
    Mr. Rose. There is this thing, too. I mean, think about Chelsea's 
children, your grandchildren, say the year 2050, whatever the 
appropriate time might be. What's this world going to look like? Is it 
going to be more interesting, more challenging? How will we travel; what 
kind of food will we eat; will we go to other planets?
    The President. I think we'll be eating food that's like what we eat 
now. I think it will be safer. I think we'll know a lot more about it, 
even safer than it is now. I think that in big, urban areas, I think 
we'll still have our love affairs with cars. I think they will be much 
more safe. They'll be made of composite materials that are much more 
resistant to wrecks. And I think where there is a lot of heavy traffic, 
I think that we'll all travel by a computerized plan.
    I also think there will be a lot more rapid rail transit. I think it 
will be safer. It'll be better, and I think we'll be able to do things 
while we travel and spend more time. I think we will go into outer 
space, and at sometime in the next century, I think there will be large, 
permanent platforms sustaining life in outer space that will basically 
be jumping-off places to distant planets and maybe even beyond. That's 
what I think will happen.
    Q. Hold on one second. I know you've got to change tape. Okay.

[[Page 2677]]

    Mr. Rose. You said computerized plan----
    The President. No, I meant cars. You want me to say it again?
    Mr. Rose. How much time do we have?
    The President. I just misspoke myself.
    Mr. Rose. How much time do we have here?
    The President. I don't know, 10 minutes, 5 minutes?
    You want to do that again?
    Mr. Rose. The last question? All right. Okay.
    Think about the future of your grandchildren, Chelsea's children, 
the year 2050. What will life be like then? What kind of food; what kind 
of transportation; will we be living on other planets? Will we still be 
concerned about things that concern us now, like overweight, stuff like 
that?
    The President. I don't think all of the problems will go away. I 
think the food will be pretty much like it is now, but even safer. I 
think that on Earth, we'll travel in automobiles, still, but in traffic 
jams, we'll have automated systems. I think there will be a lot more 
high speed rail. I think we'll travel in ways that give us more free 
time to do things while we travel.
    I think that there will be large platforms in outer space that will 
be jumping-off places to distant planets, and I think that the 
biomedical advances will be stunning. I think a lot of cancers will be 
cured. I think there will be a vaccine for AIDS. I think that the 
research in the human gene and the revolution, the continuing revolution 
in microchips will enable people to probably cure spinal cord injuries 
by having a programmed chip that goes into the spine and replicates all 
the nerves that were damaged.
    I think that it'll be a fascinating time. And I think there will be 
lots and lots of continuous daily communication with people across 
national and cultural lines.
    Mr. Rose. Would you go to space if you had the opportunity?
    The President. I might. I'm real interested in it. I like it a lot. 
I think it's important.

Post-Presidential Plans

    Mr. Rose. What one thing do you most want to accomplish--I've got to 
go--when you leave this office? What's the single most important thing 
for you to accomplish when you leave?
    The President. You mean, after I'm not President anymore?
    Mr. Rose. After you're not President.
    The President. I think the most important thing is for me to be a 
useful citizen of this country and of this world, because I've had 
opportunities here only my other living predecessors have had. And I 
think that for me to be able to continue the work I've done in racial 
and religious and ethnic reconciliation and trying to convince people 
that we can grow the global economy and still preserve the environment 
and trying to empower the poor and the dispossessed, in trying to spread 
the universal impact of education and use technology to benefit ordinary 
people, these kinds of things--I think I should continue to do this work 
and trying--I want to get young people into public service. I want them 
to believe this is noble and important work.
    So I think, in a word, I have to be a good citizen now. That's the 
most important thing I can do when I leave office is to use the 
maximum--to the maximum extent I can, the knowledge that I have, the 
experience that I've gained to be a really good citizen.
    Mr. Rose. Thank you, Mr. President.
    The President. Thank you.

Note: The interview was videotaped at 5:10 p.m. on December 22 in the 
Oval Office for later broadcast, and the transcript was released by the 
Office of the Press Secretary on December 28. A portion of this 
interview could not be verified because the tape was incomplete. The 
text of this interview follows the transcript as released by the Office 
of the Press Secretary.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 2677-2678]
 
Monday, January 3, 2000
 
Volume 35--Number 52
Pages 2669-2680
 
Week Ending Friday, December 31, 1999
 
Statement Announcing Zero Tolerance for Prescription Drug Internet Sites 
Harmful to Patient Safety and Health

December 28, 1999

    Prescription drug sites on the Internet have given consumers new 
options to obtain needed medications, sometimes at a more affordable 
price. This industry is in its infancy, however, and rogue operators 
pose a threat

[[Page 2678]]

to the health of Americans. Today we are unveiling a proposal that sends 
a signal that we have zero tolerance for prescription drug Internet 
sites that ignore Federal and State laws and harm patient safety and 
health. Dispensing medications through the Internet without 
prescriptions or licenses must stop.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 2678]
 
Monday, January 3, 2000
 
Volume 35--Number 52
Pages 2669-2680
 
Week Ending Friday, December 31, 1999
 
Statement on Fiscal Year 2001 Housing Vouchers

December 29, 1999

    I am pleased to announce that my budget for FY 2001 will include 
$690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers to help America's hard-
pressed working families. These housing vouchers subsidize the rents of 
low income Americans, helping them to move closer to job opportunities. 
Housing vouchers are a critical part of my administration's efforts to 
reform welfare, reward work, support working families, and provide 
affordable housing for low income families.
    In today's booming economy, about two-thirds of new jobs are being 
created in the suburbs--far from where many low income families live. 
These new housing vouchers will enable families to move closer to a new 
job, reduce a long commute, or secure more stable housing that will help 
them get or keep a job. We should use 32,000 of the 120,000 new housing 
vouchers to help families moving from welfare to work and to use 18,000 
vouchers to help homeless individuals and families secure permanent 
housing.
    Last year we worked with Congress to secure 50,000 housing vouchers, 
the first in 4 years. This November we fought hard to provide 60,000 
additional vouchers for hard-pressed working families in the final FY 
2000 budget agreement--after having been eliminated by both the House 
and Senate bills. As we work on the next budget, I urge Congress to join 
me in a bipartisan effort to fund new housing vouchers that will make 

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