Y2K bug declared New Year's Day loser, but could make comeback Monday
Federal agencies scale back Y2K warriors
January 1, 2000
From staff and wire reports
(CNN) -- Most government agencies and businesses have won round one with the Y2K bug, but they're not willing to declare victory until it's "business as usual" Monday -- when workers and customers return from a long holiday break and most business computers will reboot for the first time in the Year 2000.
But officials did breathe a sigh of relief when the calendar changed to the new millennium with none of the predicted Year 2000-related computer disasters in sight.
"I'm pleased to report what you already know -- that we don't have anything to report," James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters.
Phones worked, computers functioned, planes soared through the air, and missiles remained safely in the ground. And nationwide, New Year's celebrations went off without a terrorist incident.
"I feel like we missed a bullet," said Timmie Bailey, 44, an insurance adjuster, as she shopped with her mother at a Wal- Mart Supercenter in Conyers, Georgia.
She said she had stocked up on goods for fear of Y2K problems. But she added: "I don't feel like the wool was pulled over my eyes or anything, and I didn't get anything my family wouldn't use normally."
Not out of woods yet
Tellers at City National Bank in West Virginia wore T-shirts proclaiming "We're not afraid of Y2K." The bank elected to keep 10 branches open through the night on New Year's Eve.
"We went through the night with no problems. Everything worked according to plan," reported Jeff Legge, City National's Y2K information systems director.
Things have gone so smoothly across the country that FEMA sent home about half its staff of 700 people around the nation monitoring potential Y2K problems.
But officials cautioned that any victory celebration may be premature. The next big hurdle will come Monday, when people are back at work and large computer systems are powered up again after the long holiday weekend.
"We don't think we're out of the woods yet. We may get some ... business inconveniences, headaches, hiccups over the next few days," said Bruce McConnell, director of the International Y2K Cooperation Center.
There were some immediate, but minor, problems caused by computers that could not handle the 2000 date.
Some minor Y2K problems nationwide
There were a few glitches:
Seven nuclear power plant facilities around the country reported minor problems with their computer systems. None of the affected data systems, according to officials, threatened plant safety, and all problems have been corrected.
One plant in Arkansas experienced a problem with its system affecting access to the plant's restricted areas. The problem caused no safety hazards and was promptly fixed.
Amtrak's Philadelphia Control Center reported difficulties identifying the trains on its tracks, but the problem was promptly fixed without disrupting travel.
The Federal Aviation Adminstration reported minor trouble with a system that distributes weather information to pilots. The glitch affected 16 locations nationwide but was fixed in about 10 minutes by simply reloading software.
A security system recently installed to prevent Y2K problems at one office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms failed. Guards were posted while the system was replaced.
Spy satellite busted by Y2K bug
The most significant Y2K-related glitch came from the Pentagon, where the Defense Department reported early Saturday that one of its satellite-based guidance systems failed to properly adjust to the date change.
Officials said the satellite was down for several hours shortly after the rollover of Greenwich Mean Time, or 7 p.m. EST Friday.
Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre said the problem was "significant" and involved a ground station that processes information from some spy satellites.
"For a period of several hours we were not able to process information from that system," Hamre said.
A backup system was put in its place. The system is functioning properly although a little bit slower than normal, according to the Pentagon.
FBI and Justice pass test
Following largely successful testing of federal law enforcement computer systems late Saturday, Justice and FBI officials began scaling back round-the-clock operations at the FBI Headquarters command center.
Senior officials said an internal report would be presented to Attorney General Janet Reno, stating that no significant problems were detected among the computer systems supporting the more than 100,000 federal law enforcement officials around the world.
"We had a minor problem with the data base server for the INS computers called the Enforce System, which we were able to fix promptly," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Linda Burek.
Hacking attacks at normal levels
John Koskinen, coordinator of the President's Council on Y2K Conversion, reported nearly all government and private Internet operations appear normal.
But he said some e-mail systems may be slow to deliver electronic mail because they were shut down Friday as a precaution against the millennium bug.
"In terms of attacks on e-mail or Web sites ... we are at about a typical level of attacks," he said.
Koskinen and other government officials said the estimated $200 billion to $600 billion that corporations and governments spent to protect their computers from the millennium bug appear to have paid off.
On-camera confidence in U.S. systems
Federal officials went out of their way to show confidence in their Y2K-proof systems:
Jane Garvey, the FAA's top administrator, called the agency's Y2K command center in Herndon, Virginia, to report a smooth transition while with a dozen reporters aboard a flight from Washington to San Francisco when the clock struck midnight.
Donna Tanoue, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures deposits at banks, showed up Saturday morning at an ATM a block from the White House to withdraw a $20 bill for the benefit of waiting television cameras.
A tuxedoed postal service employee barged into a White House press briefing to deliver a package express mailed overnight from Los Angeles to Koskinen, the president's Y2K trouble-shooter. The package beat the promised noon delivery time by an hour.
Disappointment over lack of Y2K problems
Joe Prieto, a computer technician in Miami, expressed confidence that the worst has passed.
"Thought there might have been a bug or something, but it didn't happen, thank God," he said.
But some people who logged on to a Y2K preparedness message board admitted some disappointment that things didn't go wrong. Others had post-Y2K problems to get rid of.
"All's well in western Montana!" read one posting shortly after the calendar changed. "Anyone want some free rice & beans? :-)"
People who stockpiled a lot of food with long shelf lives may regret buying a month's worth of Spam or tuna fish.
Some have wondered if they can bring the food and survival supplies such as generators back to the stores. However, one national retail official noted that stores are in business to sell goods, not to loan them.
Old-fashioned New Year's pain relief
Revelers in New Orleans' French Quarter treated their New Year's Day hangovers Saturday with a drink from a 10-foot vat billed as "The World's Biggest Bloody Mary."
The clear plastic vat was equipped with spigots. Workers drew off generous samples in big souvenir cups and gave them out to the crowd.
"We figured we'd have the world's largest Bloody Mary on a morning when people have the world's largest hangovers," said Paul McIlhenny, president of the Louisiana company that makes Tabasco sauce.
He said the recipe called for more than 800 gallons of V-8 vegetable juice, 12 gallons of Tabasco and 220 gallons of vodka.
Y2K: Minor glitches so far, experts wait for Monday
FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency
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