February 17, 2000 – A lot going on – an election year, higher interest rates and the Pentagon defends its program to vaccinate troops against the Anthrax virus.
Amid criticisms and a Congressional report critical over the Military’s vaccination program had the Defense Department on the defensive. Assistant Secretary of Defense Sue Bailry said only a small percentage of the 400,000 troops vaccinated had a reaction to the Anthrax shots, and calls to make the vaccination program safer. Despite criticisms, all were in agreement that the Military needed a more comprehensive program in order to make the Anthrax vaccines safer; since it was deemed a necessity to have troops immunized against the very real possibility of an Anthrax attack.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill – Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted to congress he had never seen an economy as good as it was on this day, but he added that inflationary pressures were building, and that the Fed hadn’t succeeded in putting the brakes on. He was hinting at the possibilities of another rate hike to stem the potential inflation sometime in the future. He also said the Stock Market was becoming an increasingly risky place for investors.
All that talk managed to take Wall Street down some 46 points, closing at 10,514. But Technology stocks continued their meteoric rise, with the NASDAQ rising 121 points to a new high.
Speaking of High-Tech; the number of investigations over hack attacks of websites had more than quadrupled in recent weeks. According to the FBI, the attacks occurred at less known websites, but they were increasing at an alarming rate.
And Election 2000 was up and running, with 2 days to go before the South Carolina Republican Primary. Frontrunners John McCain and George W. Bush were devoting their time wooing voters and sniping at each other. Polls were showing Bush edging ahead of McCain, but many Republican strategists were worried Democrats might vote in the primary for McCain, just to sabotage the outcome.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this tempestuous February 17th in 2000, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup; Late Edition.