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Forbes Sees ‘Leadership Crisis’

May 14, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Seeing political opportunity in a massive computer glitch, publisher Steve Forbes is encouraging Republicans in Congress to seize the initiative on what is known as the year 2000 problem.

In his latest memo to Republican leaders, Forbes said the Clinton administration has been slow to address the risks posed by the inability of computers to distinguish the year 2000 from 1900.

Unless that glitch is fixed, the new millennium could begin with disruptions in private business and in government services such as benefit distribution and airplane guidance.

``Distracted by scandals and sidetracked by questionable crises like global warming, the Clinton-Gore administration is failing to insure that vital government computers will be fixed in time,″ Forbes wrote in a memo being sent Friday to more than 10,000 Republicans.

Forbes, a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, describes the situation as a ``leadership crisis″ rather than a technology crisis.

President Clinton has created a council to help federal agencies cope with the computer problem. The cost to the U.S. government could top $4 billion, according to recent estimates.

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