Clinton Says Bin Laden in Y2K Plot : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Wednesday May 17 1:13 PM ET Clinton Says Bin Laden in Y2K Plot By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writer

NEW LONDON, Conn.(AP) - President Clinton today accused the terror network allegedly operated by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden of plotting to harm Americans gathered for millennium celebrations.

``Last December, working with Jordan, we shut down a plan to place large bombs at locations where Americans might gather for New Year's Eve,'' Clinton said in commencement remarks to 184 cadets at the Coast Guard Academy.

``We learned the plot was linked to terrorist camps in Afghanistan and the organization created by Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 1998 bombings at our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which cost the lives of Americans and hundreds of Africans,'' Clinton said.

Shortly after the plan was uncovered, a Customs agent in Seattle discovered bombmaking materials being smuggled into the United States, Clinton said, ``the same material used by bin Laden in other places.''

It was the president's most extensive discussion of bin Laden's activities.

Bin Laden, a Saudi exile believed to be in Afghanistan, is among 17 people charged in a federal indictment with conspiracy to kill Americans in the embassy bombing cases. Six are in custody in the United States and three overseas.

Clinton was making the point that the new Coast Guard graduates will face a range of threats to America's security, from terrorism to smuggling to the spread of disease.

``Today and for the forseeable tomorrows we and especially you will face a fateful struggle between forces of integration and harmony and the forces of disintegration and chaos,'' Clinton said.

``Technology can be a servant of either side, or, ironically, both,'' he said.

By tradition, the president speaks at graduation ceremonies for one of the four service academies each year. He last spoke to Coast Guard cadets in 1996.

After Clinton spoke, each cadet was presented with a bachelor of science degree and a commission as an ensign. Ensigns begin their a five-year service obligation with a tour of duty aboard a Coast Guard cutter.

Clinton cited the ``Love Bug'' computer virus as powerful proof of the new kinds of threats to American security in an increasingly smaller, faster and more computerized world, the White House says.

Clinton noted that the virus, which spread by electronic mail, disabled computers worldwide earlier this month and did millions of dollars in damage.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 17, 2000

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