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22 January 1999

TRANSCRIPT: RENO, SHALALA, CLARKE BRIEFING ON TERRORISM JAN. 22

(Emerging threats of biological, chemical, cyber terrorism) (3290)

Washington -- President Clinton's National Coordinator for Security,
Infrastructure, and Counterterrorism, Dick Clarke, Attorney General
Reno, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Shalala briefed the
White House Press Corps January 22 on the emerging threats of
biological, chemical and cyber terrorism.

"The message that we want to get across today is not that we know of
an imminent attack -- we do not know of any imminent attack being
planned on that United States using chemical or biological weapons, or
using cyber attack techniques," Clarke told them. "But," he added, "we
do want to raise consciousness, in the American people, in the
scientific community, in the corporate community, and in the Congress,
that such attacks are growing increasingly likely.

"And as the President said, we need to be ahead of the power curve; we
need to be prepared to defend ourselves against those attacks, and in
so doing, perhaps to prevent them; at least to be able to mitigate
their effects," Clarke pointed out.

"The President's announcement today puts our money where our policy
is," he said. "It's a proposal to spend next year $2.8 billion
defending against these two types of threats. That's an increase of 40
percent in federal expenditures over two years ago for cyber defense,
to defend America's cyberspace. It is a doubling of the funds over two
years for chemical and biological weapons defense."

Attorney General Reno observed that "As the President said this
morning, our nation has benefitted greatly from cyber technology. It
makes America work better than ever before. Intricate networks, power
grids and computer systems make up what we call our national
infrastructure. If that infrastructure is attacked, we all suffer.
That is why we must, and we are, doing everything we can to protect
it."

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, noted that
"We're all here talking about a kind of scenario that we hope that our
citizens never have to confront. But the point is to be prepared. And
my job -- and this is the first time in American history in which the
public health system has been integrated directly into the national
security system -- is to be able to provide tracking and treatment for
victims."

Following is the White House transcript:

(begin transcript)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

January 22, 1999

PRESS BRIEFING BY
ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO,
SECRETARY OF HHS DONNA SHALALA,
AND RICHARD CLARKE,
PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR SECURITY,
INFRASTRUCTURE AND COUNTERTERRORISM

The Briefing Room

11:45 A.M. EST

DAVID LEAVY: As you know, the President announced an expansion of the
administration's effort to combat the emerging threats of biological,
chemical and cyber terrorism. Today, just to go over the details of
that and to answer your questions are the President's National
Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure, and Counterterrorism, Dick
Clarke; Attorney General Reno; and Secretary of Health and Human
Services Shalala.

Dick.

CLARKE: The message that we want to get across today is not that we
know of an imminent attack -- we do not know of any imminent attack
being planned on that United States using chemical or biological
weapons, or using cyber attack techniques. But we do want to raise
consciousness, in the American people, in the scientific community, in
the corporate community, and in the Congress, that such attacks are
growing increasingly likely.

And as the President said, we need to be ahead of the power curve; we
need to be prepared to defend ourselves against those attacks, and in
so doing, perhaps to prevent them; at least to be able to mitigate
their effects.

The President's announcement today puts our money where our policy is.
It's a proposal to spend next year $2.8 billion defending against
these two types of threats. That's an increase of 40 percent in
federal expenditures over two years ago for cyber defense, to defend
America's cyberspace. It is a doubling of the funds over two years for
chemical and biological weapons defense.

There are several initiatives within that program. There's $500
million on the critical infrastructure applied research initiative.
There's $400 million to research defenses against chemical and
biological weapons. There are plans for two networks to defend DOD and
federal computer systems. There is a cyber core, a core of federal
employees highly trained and skilled who would operate federal
government computers, defend them against attack and be able to
respond to an attack. There are funds to assist industry groups, which
would come together to form their own computer defense facilities. And
there is a reinvigoration of the public health surveillance system, to
allow us to detect chemical and biological attacks when they occur.

Here to explain the background to all of this are two Cabinet members
who have been personally vigorous in urging the President to increase
funding, to increase attention on these programs. First, the Attorney
General.

RENO:  Thank you, Mr. Clarke.

As the President said this morning, our nation has benefitted greatly
from cyber technology. It makes America work better than ever before.
Intricate networks, power grids and computer systems make up what we
call our national infrastructure. If that infrastructure is attacked,
we all suffer. That is why we must, and we are, doing everything we
can to protect it.

At the Department of Justice we have taken steps to protect it. At the
Department of Justice, we have taken steps to protect our critical
infrastructure. Since 1998 we have launched the National
Infrastructure Protection Center. The Center's mission is to detect,
prevent and respond to cyber attacks on our nation's critical
infrastructure, and to oversee investigations in this field. It is a
true interagency, public-private partnership. Our goal is to have
federal agencies working together with state and local officials,
working together with the private sector, to exchange information to
provide for early detection, to understand the technical issues
involved, and to be prepared to prevent it whenever possible.

To what the President has announced today builds on this effort and
solidifies this administration's commitment to the protection of our
infrastructure, which is so vital to this nation.

And now I'd like to recognize Donna Shalala.

SHALALA:  Thank you, Janet.  Thank you very much.

We're all here talking about a kind of scenario that we hope that our
citizens never have to confront. But the point is to be prepared. And
my job -- and this is the first time in American history in which the
public health system has been integrated directly into the national
security system -- is to be able to provide tracking and treatment for
victims.

And one way of thinking about this is if there is an outbreak -- Peggy
Hamburg's here, who used to run the New York City Health Department --
if there's an outbreak on the New York City subway system, our ability
to deal with that depends on the strength of the health system in New
York City --their ability to track and to manage whatever the outbreak
is and individual patients as they go to different parts of the health
care system.

The tracking system becomes very important, the surveillance system,
because, frankly, if there is an outbreak in any major metropolitan
area, people spread all over that metropolitan area. And it's our
ability to manage the consequences of the outbreak through a health
system -- not just the public health system, but also the private
health system. That kind of surveillance system, that kind of tracking
system at the national level, working with local officials is what
we've been building here, starting, actually, when we started in the
administration, but with a lot more energy over the last two years
because of the President's keen interest and the investment of
substantial resources.

This budget that the President is proposing is $230 million for fiscal
year 2000. That's up from $158 million this year, and it has four
components for us -- strengthening disease surveillance and the public
health network. We're working with the states, of course, to improve
their disease surveillance. The medical and the public health
response: We're trying to merge the public health system and the
medical systems here so that they work together. The surveillance
systems are, in general, in this country run by the public health
side; the delivery systems, treating the victims, run by the medical
people. And we're merging the two of them for these purposes.

The pharmaceutical stockpiles -- we have to be assured that the volume
and the range of needed pharmaceuticals can be made available quickly.
These are not just vaccines we're talking about, we're also talking
about antibiotics and about vaccinating large numbers of people within
a relatively short period of time as part of the response; and about
the research that's needed to do that as well as the stockpiling
facilities.

And finally, the research components. We need to better understand the
disease agents of bioterrorism. We also need not only vaccines, but
the treatment protocols. We have a number of them; now we're upgrading
them. This is a continuous improvement strategy.

What the President announced today is significant and the integration,
I can't emphasize enough, of the health leaders in this country --
from me to the local leaders to the state leaders -- into this, which
is essentially a systems approach, is very significant.

Q: What is this story that Saddam is trying to perfect some sort of
agent that won't attack Arabs, but attacks Westerners?

SHALALA: That actually would make it pretty good for me and Helen.
And, Sam, you're in big trouble.

I think the point that we're making is whatever it is, this country
intends to be ready and to have a system in place to respond.

Q: Have you heard that? Is that just an old wives' tale or is there
actually --

CLARKE:  I think that's an old wives' tale.

SHALALA:  I think it's actually an old Arab's tale.

Q: Madam Secretary, is there any city in America that can identify and
cope with a biological weapons attack today?

SHALALA: There are cities who have been putting systems in place for
some period of time, and that includes New York, where Peggy Hamburg,
Dr. Hamburg, provided the leadership. She's now the Assistant
Secretary of the Department in charge of the government's health
pieces of this bioterrorism network. And that's a significance, I
think, of her appointment, too, because she's put it together at the
local level. So there are cities.

The point is we want every place in the United States to be prepared.
Remember, we have disaster systems in this country. So it's not a new
subject matter to us. It's the introduction of bioterrorism and the
fact that if there is an outbreak some place, calling in the Marines
is not the solution. It is making sure that you have a public health
system, a surveillance and a treatment system, as well as whatever the
judicial and the military responses are that are appropriate.

Q: Madam Secretary, how do you respond to critics who say that by its
very nature you cannot predict a terrorist attack and that this is
just sort of throwing money away, and it's a political -- to make
people feel better?

SHALALA: You also can't predict natural disasters, as we have learned
very well in this country in the last 48 hours, for example. So the
point is to have a system in place for surveillance and treatment, so
that what we're trying to do is to anticipate. And that's what good
leadership is about.

Q: Madam Secretary, do we have any defense against ICBM missiles that
would distribute this kind of --

SHALALA:  I think you've got the wrong --

Q: Whoever it is, do we have any defense against ICBM missiles that
might deliver this kind of thing?

CLARKE: Let me just say we have no intelligence that indicates there
is an ICBM-based threat carrying chemical or biological weapons.

Q:  What about the threat to rain missiles on Los Angeles?

CLARKE: I'll try again. We have no intelligence that indicates there
is a current ICBM threat against the United States with chemical or
biological warheads. One of the reasons that the President is looking
at a limited ballistic missile defense system, and one of the reasons
behind this chemical and biological defense preparation initiative, is
our concern that that kind of threat could emerge in the future.
That's one of the reasons we're doing all of this.

But as I said at the top, we don't know of any such threat today.

Q: Attorney General, is there a civil liberties issue here? The ACLU
seems to think that in setting up a national program and coordination,
there may be.

RENO: What I have instructed the Center to do -- the National
Infrastructure Protection Center -- and the FBI, is to work with our
lawyers. And we have recruited and trained lawyers who have the
technical information and expertise together with the legal expertise
to ensure that what we do complies with the Constitution, complies
with privacy rights. And we believe firmly that we can continue to
meet our obligations in law enforcement in this era of new technology
while at the same time complying with the Constitution in every way.

Q: That hasn't been worked out yet -- in other words, they're looking
at it?

RENO: No, they're working on it daily, as we address issues of search
and seizure, as we address issues in computer crime. We are addressing
those issues daily. And so far to my satisfaction at least, based on
everything I know, we've have been addressing those in accordance with
the Constitution.

Q: Attorney General Reno, the President today described the first wave
of cyber terrorism from attacks by hackers at this point -- computer
systems from universities to financial institutions. Can you tell us
how big of a threat that is?

RENO: I'd like to address -- there are many young people who are far
better skilled in cyber tools than I am. They know a lot more about
computers than I do. And some of them just don't think it's wrong.
They have become very able and adept on computers and they like to
challenge themselves and see what they can do. One of the things --
one of the points that has been made to me is we've got to let
everyone know that it is wrong to invade another person's computer. It
is wrong to invade and upset and confuse the data base or disturb the
data base. And I think this is one of the responsibilities that we all
face and that our public schools face in terms of preparing ourselves
for the cyber age.

Q:  But aside from it being wrong, how much of a threat is it?

RENO: I think it's a problem that we deal with and we trace and we,
again, take appropriate action as based on prosecutions that have been
successful to date.

Q: Attorney General, the President said in the New York Times
interview that this is the kind of threat that keeps him awake at
night. You, too? Or do you -- I mean, do you worry about this?

RENO:  After six years in this job, I get a good night's sleep.

CLARKE: Let me expand a moment on the previous question about the
hackers being a threat. We're not talking about a few teenagers
violating the law and getting into a computer system and having some
fun -- even though it's illegal and it's serious and we have to deal
with it. That's not the threat the President's talking about.

The President's talking about something called information warfare,
where a nation or a terrorist group or a criminal cartel could do a
systematic national intrusion into the computer systems that control
the electric power grids, the telephone networks, the banking and
finance system, the transportation nodes, and effectively shut the
nation off. In other words, just as in World War II, nations flew
bombers over each other's countries to try to destroy infrastructure
by dropping bombs. What we're concerned about is in the future nations
will have that same capability to destroy each other's infrastructure,
not by bombs, but by cyber attack. Now, we can prevent that if we have
cyber defenses.

Q: Mr. Clarke and Ms. Reno, Los Angeles is one of the cities that have
received both chemical and biological training. And yet in the anthrax
hoaxes that we've seen, citizens of Los Angeles have been held for
four hours and even longer while people look for anthrax, which is not
contagious. What's going on here? Are people -- are the trainees, the
people who have been trained, not getting the message, or -- and are
civil liberties being violated by these unnecessary detentions?

RENO: What we are trying to do in the effort that is now underway,
which Congress has approved and the administration is pursuing, is we
have proposed the development of a national domestic preparedness
office. We are working, if that is accepted, we are working with the
Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense,
FEMA, the specialists, the experts to number one, identify the best
means of detection; number two, to work in conjunction with the public
health and the medical community in determining what is the
appropriate response; and working with lawyers at the Department of
Justice to determine what are the implications with respect to privacy
and to civil rights.

Q: Attorney General Reno, Mr. Clarke, whenever the government starts
sharing information about threats with big companies and not with the
general public, that raises certain concerns. Are those fair concerns,
and how do you plan to address them?

RENO: This is one of the issues that we are working with state and
local authorities, as well as with the private sector, with emergency
managers at the state and local level, to make sure that we get out
the information that is appropriate and relevant in the best way
possible. There are a number of issues involved -- how do we
disseminate classified information -- and we're working through those
issues; how do we disseminate information so that it does not unduly
alarm people. I think in whatever role you're in, whether it's in
forecasting tornadoes or in these circumstances, you've got to balance
fully informing the public with not frightening them into
inappropriate action.

Q: Mr. Clarke, you had said that there is no apparent threat of ICBM.
Was there any apparent threat before the Iraqis starting showering
missiles on Tel Aviv?

CLARKE: What I said was we have no indication that there are chemical
or biological weapons on warheads that can reach the United States
today. In the case of Iraq in 1991, where I happen to have some
background, we had a very good idea that they had Scud missiles and
that they might attack Israel. That was part of the assumption that
went into the planning of the war. We thought we knew how many they
were; we thought we knew where they were. Similarly, today, we have a
very good idea we knew where they were. Similarly, today, we have a
very good idea about where ICBMs are and how many ICBMs there are that
can reach the United States.

Q:  But what defense do we have against these?

CLARKE: As I said, we do not now have a defense against ICBMs. The
President has proposed that we look at a limited ABM defense system.
That's one of the things that the Secretary of State, who leaves
tomorrow for Moscow, will be discussing with the Russians next week.

Q:  Thank you.

(end transcript)