CIA says Y2K may disrupt global supply chains : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Note particularly the comments about the US Polly Position being called RECKLESS!

Online News, 10/13/99 04:28 PM)

CIA says Y2K may disrupt global supply chains By Patrick Thibodeau

WASHINGTON -- The lack of Y2K preparations at many small to medium-sized businesses located overseas may lead to supply-chain problems for larger enterprises, especially those dependent on "just-in-time" distribution, a Central Intelligence Agency official testified at a congressional hearing today.

Lawrence K. Gershwin, the CIA's national intelligence officer for science and technology, also said intelligence officials expect a "safe havening" of financial assets by some foreign governments and businesses in the U.S.

Gershwin, testifying before the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, said Russia, Ukraine, China and Indonesia are likely to experience "significant" Y2K failures. Germany and Japan started late in their Y2K repairs and are also at risk of failure, he said.

Gershwin said the CIA was "highly confident" that Y2K failures won't lead to inadvertent launch of a ballistic missile, and said the chance of a nuclear accident on the scale of Chernobyl is "extremely low."

The year 2000 date rollover isn't expected to produce a "significant" disruption in oil supplies, said Gershwin, but breakdowns in foreign infrastructures could impact U.S. interests overseas, including global businesses and military installations. Large companies may experience delays and disruptions due to failures in the systems of key business partners, he said.

A U.S. Department of Commerce official, also testifying, said there was enough time for governments and businesses "to put in place the necessary structure to avoid serious disruptions to the world's trading system," said Michael J. Copps, an assistant secretary for trade development.

But another witness, Nick Gogerty, an analyst at the London-based firm International Monitoring, said the optimistic Y2K message being put forth by U.S. officials was "potentially reckless" and could prompt some to disregard the Y2K risk.

Gogerty said he expects Y2K problem will lead to $1.1 trillion in damages worldwide, separate from any litigation and insurance costs. The U.S. share of these damages will amount to about $115 billion, he estimated. He believes Y2K will lead to delays in global trade.

However, the most serious risk posed by Y2K will be on financial systems, Gogerty predicted. Echoing the CIA's assessment, he said a "flight to quality" from traditional assets could lead to increased demand for gold and the U.S. dollar.

Humanitarian issues are another significant concern. James Moody, the CEO of InterAction, a Washington-based group that represents some 160 relief, development and refugee agencies, said that the Y2K problem has the potential to seriously disrupt essential services.

Moody said the U.S. hasn't done enough to address this problem. "Unless prompt, coordinated action is taken," the U.S. and other wealthy countries "will come under significant international and internal criticism."

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-- Helium (, October 14, 1999


"...the optimistic Y2K message being put forth by U.S. officials was "potentially reckless" and could prompt some to disregard the Y2K risk."




See testimony links...

New Senate Y2K Hearings - "What in the World Will Happen?" 001Zqp

-- Diane J. Squire (, October 14, 1999.

Experts warn of slow deterioration in services
JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, October 13, 1999 article.cgi?file=/news/archive/1999/10/13/national1409EDT0680.DTL

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

(10-13) 11:09 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- Repercussions from Y2K-related computer problems could extend well beyond Jan. 1 in many countries and involve the United States in humanitarian and environmental crisis relief, a CIA official said Wednesday.

Lawrence Gershwin, the CIA's national intelligence officer for science and technology, listed Russia, Ukraine, China and Indonesia as among the countries most vulnerable to serious millennium bug disruptions.

In illustrating lack of preparation in some places, Gershwin said members of Indonesia's national electricity board recently told a local newspaper that they can watch what happens at midnight in Australia and New Zealand and still have six hours to make plans.

Gershwin, speaking to the Senate's special Y2K panel, said the risks vary from country to country: Russia and Ukraine face dangers in their nuclear power, gas and electric power industries; Latin America is likely to see some disruptions in telecommunications, public health and social welfare; and some Asian countries could see problems in railroads, ports and medical services.

Y2K problems could arise from breakdowns in computer systems that read only the last two digits in a year and interpret 2000, or ``00,'' as 1900.

Even the best-prepared nations, including the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia, could feel some side effects from disruptions in other countries, Gershwin said.

The United States is unlikely to see interruptions in financial markets or oil deliveries, he said, but foreign Y2K-related crises ``have the potential to involve U.S. military and civilian components in humanitarian relief, environmental disaster recovery or evacuations.''

James Moody, president of InterAction, a coalition of development and relief agencies, said Y2K failures in some development countries have ``the potential to seriously disrupt essential services in health, communications, banking, transport and public safety ... with humanitarian crises arising as a result.''

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who heads the Senate Y2K panel with Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, said that ``in the spirit of self- preservation, we are chiefly concerned with the potential for cascading failures which could land on American shores.''

European markets that depend on gas delivers from Russia's Gazprom could be affected by locally severe gas shortages in Russia or Ukraine, Gershwin said.

Bruce McConnell, director of the World Bank-funded International Y2K Cooperation Center, said the main Y2K problem in many countries will not be short-term power or phone outages but more long-term deterioration in basic services.

``The most significant risk Y2K poses is not localized technology failure, but a degradation in the performance of the connected relationships among electronic devices, procedures, people and organizations that together make modern life workable and efficient,'' he said.

Gershwin said public responses that could make technological difficulties worse include hoarding, heavy bank withdrawals and the buying of guns to ensure personal safety.

-- Diane J. Squire (, October 14, 1999.

Thanks for the highlights Diane.

How is my food-storing, withdrawal from the stock market, purchase of gold coins, and a Remington 870 shotgun going to affect anyone but me and my family? How is anyone else worse off?

F*** the CIA!!!!!

Get guns grub and gold people!

-- nothere nothere (, October 14, 1999.

I got me some gold coins. where do I get them 'ere gold people?

-- Emolina Snum (Umm@Huh?.wha?), October 14, 1999.

Hey Helium, someone on the Kitco gold discussion forum linked to this thread. Just thought you would like to know :)

-- Rob (sonofdust@linked.there), October 14, 1999.

Wow! Our think tank of all of our most brilliant "intelligence" officers just figured out something that most of us realized years ago. Bravo! Bravo!!

-- @ (@@@.@), October 14, 1999.

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