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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

July 16, 1998


                           THE WHITE HOUSE
                    Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                             July 16, 1998     
                         PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                            MIKE MCCURRY 
                        The Briefing Room    			     
2:15 P.M. EDT
	     Q	  Mike, were you able to ascertain whether the White 
House is aware of new information that Lott mentioned about Chinese 
efforts to influence the '96 campaign? 
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I've checked on that, and I'm reasonably 
confident that we are aware of whatever information Senator Lott is 
aware of.  I can't tell you for certain what we think he was 
describing as new information, but we're confident that whatever was 
briefed to the Hill and briefed to the relevant committees has been 
briefed to the administration. 
	     Q	  Well, does that information indicate that there 
were efforts by the Chinese to influence the elections? 
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I'm not going to -- whatever the 
information was, it's obviously classified, so I'm not going to 
describe it other than to say that it has not altered the approach 
that we've used diplomatically to address this issue, and I think you 
all know how we have addressed this issue. 
	     Q	  Is it to fair to characterize it as new 
information, though, as --
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I don't know that it would be lawful for 
me to answer how new it may or may not be.
	     Q	  I'm not asking you to describe the information, 
simply whether it --
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I think the same problem arises.  I'm not 
sure if I can tell you how current or how new it is.
	     Q	  The law goes to shelf --
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Sometimes it does, yes.
	     Q	  Has it been raised with the Chinese, have you 
approached them about it?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Well, you know the answer to that from 
President Jiang Zemin.  I mean, the issue has certainly been raised 
and President Jiang Zemin told you.
	     Q	  Since the arrival, though, of this new information, 
whatever it may be.
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I'm not aware that we have altered any 
aspect of our diplomacy based on any briefing since the trip.
	     Q	  Mike, does that mean then that the President does 
not consider the information to have crossed the threshold he set 
when he said that were there substantial indications that the Chinese 
tried to influence the election, he'd consider that a very serious 
	     MR. MCCURRY:  The President has already indicated -- 
well, you already have an indication of how seriously the President 
takes the issue, because you know from the President of China that 
the President of the United States raised it very directly and 
presumably, quite forcefully, when we were in Beijing.
	     Q	  Well, Lott had a very specific assessment of what 
the information means.  Does the White House disagree with Lott's 
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I'm not going to disagree with Senator 
Lott, but you heard Senator Kerry's views on that subject.

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