t byfield on Tue, 26 Jan 1999 22:11:53 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Clinton: "Keeping American Secure in 21st C"

     [pointing out politicians' hypocrisy is more than merely boring, 
      it's obstinately stupid to imagine that professional politics 
      is a field that permits some hazy synthesis of speech and ac-
      tion. you'd do as well to complain that new yorkers don't walk
      in straight lines between point A and point B: the answer is
      that they do *and* they don't at the same time. anyway, here 
      is the much-embattled maximum leader of the US on the subject
      of 'security.' since this speech is a kind of fiction, maybe
      try reading it that way. unfortunately, his interest in these
      issues is quite real: he's 'building a bridge' to Al 'my daddy
      built the federal highway system' Gore's presidency and buying
      off the security establishment, whose support he desperately
      needs to avoid becoming a completely lame duck. unfortunately,
      he's incredibly naive in these matters: for example, first he
      commits staggering amounts of money to prestidigitating an
      antiballistic missile system, then he sends his Sec of State to
      Russia to assure Yeltsin that it's doesn't have anything to
      do with the Russians. except that (a) Yeltsin can't have too
      many lives left, and (b) 'personal diplomacy' won't do much
      to negate the dynamics of a nuclear arms race. did he consult
      with the established groups that have been negotiating the START
      and SALT talks--with decent reults--for almost thirty years now? 
      feh. rest assured that his administration's 'cyberspace' policy 
      as dangerous for everyone in that field as his nuke policy is in 
      its own. and note that the 'applause' is part of the speech. 
      indeed. --tb]



    For Immediate Release January 22, 1999


    National Academy of Sciences
    Washington, D.C.

    10:30 A.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Jamie, Dr. Lederberg, I'd like
    to thank you for your service in this and so many other ways. I
    would like to thank Sandy Berger for many things, including
    indulging my nagging on this subject for the better part of six
    years now.

    I was so relieved that Dr. Lederberg not very long ago -- well, last
    year -- brought a distinguished panel of experts together to discuss
    this bioterrorism threat, because I then had experts to cite on my
    concern and nobody thought I was just reading too many novels late
    at night. (Laughter.)

    Madame Attorney General, Secretary Shalala, Secretary Richardson,
    Director Witt, Deputy Secretary Hamre, Commandant of the Coast Guard
    and our other military leaders who are here, Mr. Clarke, ladies and
    gentlemen. I'm delighted to be here to discuss this subject. With
    some trepidation, Sandy Berger noted that Dr. Lederberg won a Nobel
    Prize at 33, and I was governor you can infer from that that I was
    not very good at chemistry and biology. (Laughter.)

    But any democracy is imbued with the responsibility of ordinary
    citizens who do not have extraordinary expertise to meet the
    challenges of each new age. And that is what we are all trying to
    do. Our country has always met the challenges of those who would do
    us harm. At the heart of our national defense I have always believed
    is our attempt to live by our values -- democracy, freedom, equal
    opportunity. We are working hard to fulfill these values at home.
    And we are working with nations around the world to advance them, to
    build a new era of interdependence where nations work together --
    not simply for peace and security, but also for better schools and
    health care, broader prosperity, a cleaner environment and a greater
    involvement by citizens everywhere in shaping their own future.

    In the struggle to defend our people and values and to advance them
    wherever possible, we confront threats both old and new -- open
    borders and revolutions in technology have spread the message and
    the gifts of freedom but have also given new opportunities to
    freedom's enemies. Scientific advances have opened the possibility
    of longer, better lives. They have also given the enemies of freedom
    new opportunities.

    Last August, at Andrews Air Force Base, I grieved with the families
    of the brave Americans who lost their lives at our embassy in Kenya.
    They were in Africa to promote the values America shares with
    friends of freedom everywhere -- and for that they were murdered by
    terrorists. So, too, were men and women in Oklahoma City, at the
    World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, on Pan Am 103.

    The United States has mounted an aggressive response to terrorism --
    tightening security for our diplomats, our troops, our air
    travelers, improving our ability to track terrorist activity,
    enhancing cooperation with other countries, strengthening sanctions
    on nations that support terrorists.

    Since 1993, we have tripled funding for FBI anti-terrorist efforts.
    Our agents and prosecutors, with excellent support from our
    intelligence agencies, have done extraordinary work in tracking down
    perpetrators of terrorist acts and bringing them to justice. And as
    our air strikes against Afghanistan -- or against the terrorist
    camps in Afghanistan -- last summer showed, we are prepared to use
    military force against terrorists who harm our citizens. But all of
    you know the fight against terrorism is far from over. And now,
    terrorists seek new tools of destruction.

    Last May, at the Naval Academy commencement, I said terrorist and
    outlaw states are extending the world's fields of battle, from
    physical space to cyberspace, from our earth's vast bodies of water
    to the complex workings of our own human bodies. The enemies of
    peace realize they cannot defeat us with traditional military means.
    So they are working on two new forms of assault, which you've heard
    about today: cyber attacks on our critical computer systems, and
    attacks with weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological,
    potentially even nuclear weapons. We must be ready -- ready if our
    adversaries try to use computers to disable power grids, banking,
    communications and transportation networks, police, fire and health
    services -- or military assets.

    More and more, these critical systems are driven by, and linked
    together with, computers, making them more vulnerable to disruption.
    Last spring, we saw the enormous impact of a single failed
    electronic link, when a satellite malfunctioned -- disabled pagers,
    ATMs, credit card systems and television networks all around the
    world. And we already are seeing the first wave of deliberate cyber
    attacks -- hackers break into government and business computers,
    stealing and destroying information, raiding bank accounts, running
    up credit card charges, extorting money by threats to unleash
    computer viruses.

    The potential for harm is clear. Earlier this month, an ice storm in
    this area crippled power systems, plunging whole communities into
    darkness and disrupting daily lives. We have to be ready for
    adversaries to launch attacks that could paralyze utilities and
    services across entire regions. We must be ready if adversaries seek
    to attack with weapons of mass destruction, as well. Armed with
    these weapons, which can be compact and inexpensive, a small band of
    terrorists could inflict tremendous harm.

    Four years ago, though, the world received a wake-up call when a
    group unleashed a deadly chemical weapon, nerve gas, in the Tokyo
    subway. We have to be ready for the possibility that such a group
    will obtain biological weapons. We have to be ready to detect and
    address a biological attack promptly, before the disease spreads. If
    we prepare to defend against these emerging threats we will show
    terrorists that assaults on America will accomplish nothing but
    their own downfall.

    Let me say first what we have done so far to meet this challenge.
    We've been working to create and strengthen the agreement to keep
    nations from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, because this can
    help keep these weapons away from terrorists, as well. We're working
    to ensure the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons
    Convention; to obtain an accord that will strengthen compliance with
    the biological weapons convention; to end production of nuclear
    weapons material. We must ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
    to end nuclear tests once and for all.

    As I proposed Tuesday in the State of the Union Address, we should
    substantially increase our efforts to help Russia and other former
    Soviet nations prevent weapons material and knowledge from falling
    into the hands of terrorists and outlaw states. In no small measure
    we should do this by continuing to expand our cooperative work with
    the thousands of Russian scientists who can be used to advance the
    causes of world peace and health and well-being, but who if they are
    not paid, remain a fertile field for the designs of terrorists.

    But we cannot rely solely on our efforts to keep weapons from
    spreading. We have to be ready to act if they do spread. Last year,
    I obtained from Congress a 39 percent budget increase for chemical
    and biological weapons preparedness. This is helping to accelerate
    our ongoing effort to train and equip fire, police and public health
    personnel all across our country to deal with chemical and
    biological emergencies. It is helping us to ready armed forces and
    National Guard units in every region to meet this challenge; and to
    improve our capacity to detect an outbreak of disease and save
    lives; to create the first ever civilian stockpile of medicines to
    treat people exposed to biological and chemical hazards; to increase
    research and development on new medicines and vaccines to deal with
    new threats.

    Our commitment to give local communities the necessary tools already
    goes beyond paper and plans. For example, parked just outside this
    building is a newly designed truck we have provided to the
    Arlington, Virginia, Fire Department. It can rapidly assist and
    prevent harm to people exposed to chemical and biological dangers.

    But our commitment on the cyber front has been strong, as well.
    We've created special offices within the FBI and the Commerce
    Department to protect critical systems against cyber attack. We're
    building partnerships with the private sector to find and reduce
    vulnerabilities; to improve warning systems; to rapidly recover if
    attacks occur. We have an outstanding public servant in Richard
    Clarke, who is coordinating all these efforts across our government.

    Today, I want to announce the new initiatives we will take, to take
    us to the next level in preparing for these emerging threats. In my
    budget, I will ask Congress for $10 billion to address terrorism and
    terrorist-emerging tools. This will include nearly $1.4 billion to
    protect citizens against chemical and biological terror -- more than
    double what we spent on such programs only two years ago.

    We will speed and broaden our efforts, creating new local emergency
    medical teams, employing in the field portable detection units the
    size of a shoe box to rapidly identify hazards; tying regional
    laboratories together for prompt analysis of biological threats. We
    will greatly accelerate research and development, centered in the
    Department of Health and Human Services, for new vaccines, medicines
    and diagnostic tools.

    I should say here that I know everybody in this crowd understands
    this, but everyone in America must understand this: the government
    has got to fund this. There is no market for the kinds of things we
    need to develop; and if we are successful, there never will be a
    market for them. But we have got to do our best to develop them.
    These cutting-edge efforts will address not only the threat of
    weapons of mass destruction, but also the equally serious danger of
    emerging infectious diseases. So we will benefit even if we are
    successful in avoiding these attacks.

    The budget proposal will also include $1.46 billion to protect
    critical systems from cyber and other attacks. That's 40 percent
    more than we were spending two years ago. Among other things, it
    will help to fund four new initiatives. First, an intensive research
    effort to detect intruders trying to break into critical computer
    systems. Second, crime -- excuse me detection networks, first for
    our Defense Department, and later for other key agencies so when one
    critical computer system is invaded, others will be alerted
    instantly. And we will urge the private sector to create similar

    Third, the creation of information centers in the private sector so
    that our industries can work together and with government to address
    cyber threats. Finally, we'll ask for funding to bolster the
    government's ranks of highly skilled computer experts -- people
    capable of preventing and responding to computer crises.

    To implement this proposal, the Cyber Corps program, we will
    encourage federal agencies to train and retrain computer
    specialists, as well as recruiting gifted young people out of

    In all our battles, we will be aggressive. At the same time I want
    you to know that we will remain committed to uphold privacy rights
    and other constitutional protections, as well as the proprietary
    rights of American businesses. It is essential that we do not
    undermine liberty in the name of liberty. We can prevail over
    terrorism by drawing on the very best in our free society -- the
    skill and courage of our troops, the genius of our scientists and
    engineers, the strength of our factory workers, the determination
    and talents of our public servants, the vision of leaders in every
    vital sector.

    I have tried as hard as I can to create the right frame of mind in
    America for dealing with this. For too long the problem has been
    that not enough has been done to recognize the threat and deal with
    it. And we in government, frankly, weren't as well organized as we
    should have been for too long. I do not want the pendulum to swing
    the other way now, and for people to believe that every incident
    they read about in a novel or every incident they see in a thrilling
    movie is about to happen to them within the next 24 hours.

    What we are seeing here, as any military person in the audience can
    tell you, is nothing more than a repetition of weapons systems that
    goes back to the beginning of time. An offensive weapons system is
    developed, and it takes time to develop the defense. And then
    another offensive weapon is developed that overcomes that defense,
    and then another defense is built up -- as surely as castles and
    moats held off people with spears and bows and arrows and riding
    horses, and the catapult was developed to overcome the castle and
    the moat.

    But because of the speed with which change is occurring in our
    society -- in computing technology, and particularly in the
    biological sciences -- we have got to do everything we can to make
    sure that we close the gap between offense and defense to nothing,
    if possible. That is the challenge here.

    We are doing everything we can, in ways that I can and in ways that
    cannot discuss, to try to stop people who would misuse chemical and
    biological capacity from getting that capacity. This is not a cause
    for panic -- it is a cause for serious, deliberate, disciplined,
    long-term concern. And I am absolutely convinced that if we maintain
    our clear purpose and our strength of will, we will prevail here.
    And thanks to so many of you in this audience, and your colleagues
    throughout the United States, and like-minded people throughout the
    world, we have better than a good chance of success. But we must be
    deliberate, and we must be aggressive.

    Thank you very much. (Applause.)
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