[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: WILLIAM J. CLINTON (2000, Book I)]
[January 7, 2000]
[Pages 13-15]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on the National Plan for Information Systems Protection and an 
Exchange With Reporters
January 7, 2000

    The President. Good morning. I want to thank Secretary Daley and President Rose of 
James Madison University, who has worked with eight other institutions 
of higher education to do information technology security training, and 
Dick Clarke from the NSC and all the 
others who worked on this project.
    I want to talk just a moment about steps we are taking today to 
defend our citizens from those who would use cyberspace to do us harm.

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There has never been a time like this in which we have the power to 
create knowledge and the power to create havoc, and both those powers 
rest in the same hands.
    We live in an age when one person sitting at one computer, can come 
up with an idea, travel through cyberspace, and take humanity to new 
heights. Yet, someone can sit at the same computer, hack into a computer 
system and potentially paralyze a company, a city, or a government.
    Thanks to the hard work of many people, our computer systems were 
ready for Y2K. But that experience did underscore how really 
interconnected we all are. Today, our critical systems, from power 
structures to air traffic control, are connected and run by computers. 
We must make those systems more secure so that America can be more 
    Today we are releasing a national plan to defend America's 
cyberspace, the product of a 3-year effort. This plan is not the end of 
the discussion, but the beginning of a dialog with Congress, with the 
American people, and especially with the private sector. We need to do 
more to bring people into the field of computer security. That's why I 
am proposing a new program that will offer college scholarships to 
students in the field of computer security in exchange for their public 
service afterward. This program will create a new generation of computer 
security specialists who will work to defend our Nation's computers.
    We also need to accelerate and broaden our research into computer 
security. Today I am proposing to create a new institute that will fill 
research gaps that neither public nor private sectors are filling today. 
The Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection will bring to 
bear the finest computer scientists and engineers from the private 
sector, from universities, and from other research facilities to find 
ways to close these gaps.
    As part of the 2001 budget, I am requesting $91 million for these 
and other reforms as part of an overall $2 billion budget to help meet 
our security challenges. I will work hard to get these measures passed. 
I will continue to work equally hard to uphold the privacy rights of the 
American people, as well as the proprietary rights of American 
businesses. As I said before, it is essential that we do not undermine 
liberty in the name of liberty.
    Information technology has helped to create the unprecedented 
prosperity we enjoy at the end of the 20th century. This morning we will 
announce that the unemployment rate for all of this past year was 4.2 
percent. That's the lowest in 30 years, the lowest annual unemployment 
rate since 1969, the lowest annual minority unemployment rates for 
African-Americans and Hispanics ever recorded. It is important to 
recognize the role technology has played in this remarkable economic 
prosperity. But it is also important to recognize the challenges that we 
face out there in the security area.
    I hope that this will be a completely nonpartisan issue and that we 
will work together to ensure that information technology will create 
unprecedented prosperity in the 21st century, in an atmosphere and 
environment that makes all Americans more secure.
    Thank you very much.
    Q. Mr. President----
    The President. One each. Go ahead, John [John Roberts, CBS News].

Elian Gonzalez

    Q. Governor Bush of Florida is appealing to you to rescind the INS 
order regarding Elian Gonzalez. Is that something you would even 
    The President. I believe that they followed the law and the 
procedures. This is a volatile and difficult case. And those who want to 
challenge it will have to follow the law and the procedures. I think 
that's the only way to do this. We need to keep this out of the 
political process as much as possible, within the established legal 

Israel-Syria Peace Talks

    Q. Are you satisfied with the cooperation that you've been getting 
from the Israeli and Syrian negotiators in Shepherdstown?
    The President. Yes. This is difficult stuff. This is very hard. But 
let me say, they're working hard, and they're trying to find ways to 
resolve their differences. And they're trying to imagine the end of the 
road here. It's a difficult, difficult set of negotiations, but we're 
working in a steady way, and I'm satisfied that everybody is working in 
good faith.
    Q. How long do you expect this to take?
    The President. I don't know--until we finish.
    Q. Mr. President, how do you see your role in Shepherdstown to get 
these talks moving?

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    The President. Oh, I don't want to characterize that. I just try to 
get people together and identify what they have in common and identify 
what their differences are, try to get people to keep in mind the big 
picture at the end, what we want the--in this case, what we hope and 
pray the Middle East will look like in 5 years or 10 years from now. And 
then try to work these things through to the end. But we're just trying 
to be helpful, and I hope we are, and we're working at it.
    I hope you'll wish us well, and I've got to get up there.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:28 a.m. in the South Lawn at the White 
House, prior to his departure for Shepherdstown, WV. In his remarks, he 
referred to James Madison University President Linwood Rose; National 
Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-
terrorism Richard A. Clarke, National Security Council; and Cuban youth 
Elian Gonzalez, rescued off the coast of Florida on November 25, 1999, 
whose custody the Immigration and Naturalization Service decided in 
favor of his Cuban father. A reporter referred to Gov. Jeb Bush of