WHEN: TODAY, FRIDAY, MAY 13TH AT 4:30PM ET
WHERE: CNBC’S “CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO”
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Former President Bill Clinton and Mati Kochavi, Founder and CEO AGT International, on CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo” today at 4:30PM ET. All references must be sourced to CNBC.
Pres. CLINTON: A little bit, although I think if you look at what's happened with all these social network sites, not just in political upheavals—Tunis and Cairo, and the work that's been done to shut them down in other countries--but the role that Google played, for example, in helping us to find people who were buried under the rubble in the Haitian earthquake who were still alive, and get there in a reasonable amount of time so people would survive. I wasn't so surprised. In this case, I think it's possible that the traditional television networks actually knew about it about the time whoever twittered it did, and just sat on it at the request of the White House because they were--I was watching CNN, and they were sort of speaking in code for three hours, dancing around the subject, waiting for the president to come on. And--but I do think this instantaneous communication, it's a fact of life, and it's a good thing. It's one of the reasons we in America need to speed up our Internet connections and become globally competitive as quickly as possible.
BARTIROMO: And we're going to talk about that. Mati, we want to talk about how to protect yourself in this new world. But first, Mr. President, I've got to ask you, given the fact that we found bin Laden very close to the military base, I mean, do you think the Pakistani government knew where he was, and do you think this hurts the US-Pakistan relationship going forward?
Pres. CLINTON: Let me answer you this way. Someone asked me the other day, `Do you think Pakistan is our partner in the war on terror, or someone there knew bin Laden was there and helped him stay anonymous?' And my answer was yes to both questions. That is, I doubt that anyone in the civilian apparatus knew. I don't think Prime Minister--President Zardari knew. I doubt that anybody in his inner Cabinet knew. The heads of the intelligence services and the military have acted wounded about this, maybe they didn't know. But somebody may have.
One of the problems that Pakistan has and--is sorting out its own identity because there's so much internal conflict there between those who want to be reconciled to the rest of the world, beginning with India, and those who essentially buy the narrative of al-Qaeda. The latter group, I'm convinced, are in the minority, but there are enough of them to cause a hell of a lot of damage; not just what you saw in Mumbai with the hotel bombing, but also within Pakistan itself. So I think it's a--that's why I think the administration has been absolutely right. I noticed the secretary of state, with whom I normally agree--makes my life a lot easier, but I also happen to believe it--said the other day that Pakistan was still a key partner in our efforts to contain terrorism. I agree with that. We have no choice but to try to work with them and help the internal battle that is going on there to come out the right way.
BARTIROMO: Do you think we've cut off the head of terrorism, or do you expect retaliatory attacks? What do you think al-Qaeda's response will be at this point?
Pres. CLINTON: I don't know, because I think that he clearly was symbolically the head of al-Qaeda and a still--if what we read in the press is to be believed about there being a veritable treasure trove of information on his computers, was still thinking about what to do. The operational head for a long time has been his number two, Dr. al-Zawahiri, and in recent years al-Qaeda's operated more like a franchise operation than a top-down operation and has morphed, just as communications has morphed. I mean, the fundamental challenge you have with terror is that the--in the world we live in, you've said it first with the Twitter example, all the borders look more like nets than walls. And most of us like it. It's made life good for us. But you can't avoid feeling the consequences of instability in another part of the world. So I think it depends. I don't think there's any question it's a setback for them. I don't think it's any question that, ironically, coming when it did with the rise of the democracy movements in many Islamic countries, that the juxtaposition of the two may lead to a rejection of the whole mind-set.
The thing that was so tragic about bin Laden, who was a charismatic, intelligent and courageous figure in a way, in the sense that he lived in a cave and then hid out and--you know, he came from the richest family of Saudi Arabia, he could've had a very different life--was that he has a world view that is totally inconsistent with human survivability. You cannot say that you have the absolute truth and anybody, including your fellow Muslims, who disagree with you are less human than you are and deserve to die as soon as possible. You--that is a--that worldview is totally incompatible with everything that makes the world work today. So I think it therefore is a net plus that he's gone because I think it will put a damage in the worldview. Ultimately, this is a battle of the mind and heart. Is it a good thing we've got better intelligence? You bet. Is it a good thing that we're much more mobile than we used to be, witness the Navy SEALs? Yes. But in the end, we got to win this fight in the head and the heart. And I think that what's happening in the streets in a lot of these countries is evidence that even though Americans may not always agree with what the popular will is, that the politics of extermination are losing their appeal.
BARTIROMO: Mati, we certainly are watching extraordinary events take place, whether it be the capture here, but more importantly as it relates to technology, what we saw in Tunisia, what we saw in Egypt, Bahrain. What do governments need to do to ensure they're protecting their people and their countries?
Mr. KOCHAVI: Well, it's extraordinarily interesting. Bouazizi burnt himself on I think December 17 or 19, say. Less than a month later he passed away, the young man in Tunisia. And from there we saw what happened in Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen. And if anyone had to predict that that's going to happen an hour before it happened, I would think he would be fired from every intelligence agency that he was been working for. So the question of information and understanding what's happening is really becoming quite complicated. It's strange. I mean, we live in an age of--era of information. We know so much. We have the Internet, we have the tweeters, we have everything, and yet we again and again are unable to predict real, significant events. So that raises a lot of questions, and that's the biggest challenge as a government itself. Governments really need to be able to predict, and the prediction's becoming more and more complex.
I think there are two reasons for that. What's unique about it, beginning of the 21st Century, is that space and time have changed. Space because of globalization. We have less borders because of political arrangements. We have much more trade, services, $12 trillion moving between countries. But borders have been removed. And then time because of the Internet. Things are moving the speed of light. We have to make decisions much faster, and things--and information gets created as much faster. And those two things of space and time are making governments and companies in many ways less stable because when something happens, it happens big, major magnitude, and very fast.
BARTIROMO: So you're really talking about predicting, using tools to actually predict outcomes and create solutions before you actually have a bigger event?
Mr. KOCHAVI: Yes. The ability to predict on level of companies and countries is becoming more complicated in the world that we are living in because it's much more complex. Why this is more complex? Because events are not any more local. I think, Mr. President, when you were president, I think that were--you used to say there were about 50 Web sites.
Pres. CLINTON: When I became president, 50 sites on the Internet in the world.
Mr. KOCHAVI: And I have internal information about you which I was told that you only sent two e-mails during the--your time at the White House.
Pres. CLINTON: And that's because I didn't think they were secure.
BARTIROMO: And they weren't.
Pres. CLINTON: I sent one to our soldiers on a ship in the Adriatic during the Kosovo conflict, and one to John Glenn when I approved his going into space at the age of 77.
But, you know, let's go back. Maria asked you another question that I'm curious about because I see this technology, it's--like everything else in life, it's a double-edged sword. I remember once Bishop Tutu, the Nobel Prize-winning South African campaigner against apartheid, once said at our Clinton Global Initiative, he said, you know, `Religion is like a knife. If you use it to slice bread, it's very good. If you use it to slice off your neighbor's arm, it's bad.' And so this technology, it's like a knife. That is, is there some way that a country can preserve a core of security without basically shutting off access to information to people in a way that the Iranians have tried to do, the Chinese have tried to do, and others? Is there some way of doing that? On a microcosmic basis, my daughter is on the board of an NGO called Common Sense. What Common Sense tries to do is to guarantee that children using the Internet have personal privacy, that they can't be invaded, but that parents still have enough control over their access to the Web site to keep them from being exposed to pornography and exploitation. It's an ever-morphing challenge. So is this a fool's errand? It's what you do--how can the United States, for example, preserve--the WikiLeaks thing makes the point. Most of that stuff didn't amount to a hill of beans, but nobody'll ever tell us anything again. Now when a diplomat sends an e-mail, they'll just make it up because nobody's going to talk to them after what they saw. So is there a--is there a way to have fundamental security over the things that deal with, let's say, the survival of the state of Israel, the survival of the United States, the survival of Jordan without being so repressive you're basically trying to deny access to information technology to preserve autocracy?
Mr. KOCHAVI: You know, we talk about governments. I would start with the companies. Let's take example the search engines companies. When we search something and ask for a question and we get it, we are very pleased because we got the answer and we are even not being asked to pay for it. So we look at the search engine companies or platforms, and we're saying those are great guys. They're doing great service for free. We forget about two things. We forget that what motivates or positions the result of the search on the top is going to be advertising or it's going to be algorithms. And the algorithms that are looking for the information are not based on accuracy, they're based on popularism. They're saying, where is the most interesting site that most of the people visit? And that's what brings it to the top of the search. It's like taking the tabloids and sending it to the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
So it begins with the companies. Why can't we have a credibility bar near every result of search. And you're going to say, OK, this information comes because it was written by a great blogger, or it was written by a 15 year old person, or it was written by a very serious person. Why don't we--we have it on--when we buy food, we have the ingredients on the food. When we go to see a movie, we have rating. So it begins by the responsibilities of the companies who are doing those things that can do a lot of change over there. And we can see discussions about privacy, and we see it more and more, such as why won't I be able, when I'm going to my social network, to know why would they want put a note over there, `We want you to know that your information was given to A, B and C. It was sold.' So it begins with the credibility of those organizations. And if they're going to increase their credibility, governments are going to have much easier life because then, when I see information, I'm going to know if I can really take it seriously or not.
There is no power of belief on the Internet. I mean, someone can write the wrong story, can use the Internet in the right way, it is going to reach popular blogs, reach the top of the search, everyone is going to know it's false, everyone is going to agree that it's wrong, and yet you cannot delete it.
BARTIROMO: But, you know, what--we're dancing around a very important subject here, because the president made the--made the comment and question, can we actually secure what we need to secure without shutting down information flow from the people? And you're saying, well, what about a credibility bar? Who puts that credibility bar in? I mean, would you want to see the Internet regulated?
Pres. CLINTON: Well, the fact that it hasn't been explains one of the reasons it's grown like crazy. And even regulators wind up having their own interests at stake. He obviously has an idea about it, so how would you--how would you have a--it's more like a temperature thing, right, going up and down.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: How would you determine whether this story is credible or not? Look, 90 percent of the time it'd be easy, right?
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: The only hard thing would be the opinions. `This is going to happen day after tomorrow.' But most of the time it would be easy. What he's talking about, we don't even have a factual bell ringer that goes off on the Internet.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
BARTIROMO: Even Wikipedia can be changed...
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah.
BARTIROMO: by anyone.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right. So we all agree that information is the most powerful thing. I mean, I remember the first days that the Internet came to our world. We saw it as a great opportunity for freedom. You headed this great initiative to commit schools, right?
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah.
Mr. KOCHAVI: To multimedia and Internet.
Pres. CLINTON: We did it.
Mr. KOCHAVI: It's going to bring education, it's going to create wonderful things. And we forgot to look at the dark side of the Internet. And the Internet can be easily manipulated. It can become a very powerful tool to bring forth information.
Now, who's going to give the credibility? I would say the companies are doing the search. They should say, `Here is--here is information about the search. Here is the data where we took it from. Here is what we can tell you about the source of information.' If those companies would take responsibility like this, so then we'll be able to start evaluating the value of the information that we have. We have no ability to value the information.
BARTIROMO: Yeah, it goes both ways. I mean, on the--in the case of Osama bin Laden, I mean, I was astounded the other night to hear a sound bite from Christiane Amanpour, who said in 2008, `I heard Osama bin Laden is living in a villa in Pakistan, not in a cave.'
Pres. CLINTON: Really?
BARTIROMO: She said that. So she knew where he was.
Pres. CLINTON: She knows a lot of stuff. She's good.
BARTIROMO: But governments didn't.
Mr. KOCHAVI: She's really good.
BARTIROMO: Yeah. I mean, I saw it on tape. So, I mean, what are the risks, Mr. President, of being a globally connected society? We talk about the world being a small world and we need to be connected globally.
Mr. CLINTON: Well, first of all let's not--let's assume Christiane actually had good information that he was living in a villa someplace in Pakistan. We know now that he was there about five years. And it actually makes some sense, since we know he had kidney issues and other health issues which would have made it very difficult, you--not impossible, but difficult--to take the requisite medical machinery into a cave and keep it operating. You still had to figure out what village and where and who's involved and when's he there. And even when the president authorized the assault, it was based on the belief of the people at the--apparently who were on the ground observing that he basically never left the place. So he would be there because he never left the place. Nonetheless, there's always some risk. What if there'd been a tunnel going out of the house or something else? So I think no matter how much information you have, if you don't know whether it's valued or not, it's hard to know whether to act. I think he had to act. I think it was the right thing to do. But if you're in the room and somebody else is saying, `Well, what are we going to do if we send them in there and he's not there and we kill some other people, and Pakistani army shows up and starts shooting at us, and we've got egg on our face?' I think he concluded what I often did when I did something that was risky as president, which is, OK, you might fail by acting, you might fail by not acting. Which failure would be easier to explain?
And even though it was a difficult decision, I think if it comes out sooner or later that he was in fact there and you had the capacity to go get him and you didn't do it, I think it would be impossible to explain, after all America had been through and after the risks the world takes. So I think he made the right decision, and I applaud him for it.
But anyway, the information, that's a different thing. Even with all the information they had, including eyes on the ground, they couldn't be 100 percent sure. We still don't know whether it's ever going to be possible to really protect anything. You have—people spend--corporations and governments spend massive sums of money, you know, trying to protect their information. And look, this enlisted Army person blew through it all and dumped all that information to Wikipedia. So that's troubling. But it's also really troubling when you think genuine political reform might come as a result of the Internet, and governments have the capacity to shut it all down, including the cell phones and making pictures and transmitting them and all the things that have happened. And I don't think there is an easy answer. This is going to be an ongoing battle. But since--the one thing I think that you suggest that really has merit is there are--we don't live in a completely fact-free world, but we debate politics as if we do.
Mr. CLINTON: And we talk about political choices as if we're in a parallel universe. I thought I was lost in a fun house in the last election. I did 133 events and I thought I was literally lost in a fun house. And part of it was there was no fact alarm that went off if something was said that was blatantly and provably not so, or there was just an absence of fact and pure assertion. And that is one thing I think we could do that would up the quality of utilization of the Internet for a long time to come.
BARTIROMO: That's a very, very important point. And you said, Mati, earlier, that there's no delete button on the Internet. So on a corporate level--we're putting the government aside...
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
BARTIROMO: ...putting governments aside for a moment. On a corporate level, can you delete misinformation? Can a corporation ensure that the information on certain Web sites--their own and others related to the company—is accurate?
Mr. KOCHAVI: I'll give a prediction. And what we saw in the Middle East is going to happen to corporations around the world. Big global companies are going to face potentially the same issues where employees who can be in isolated parts of those companies, can be companies with tens of thousands of employees, it might be remote facility that the CEO even doesn't know about it, and suddenly they're upset and they're starting to use the Internet anonymously and starting to attack the company. And other employees from the different parts of those companies globally are joining. And some day we're going to find out CEOs facing the same issue and the same challenges. Some of them, by the way, deserve to face it. But some of them are nice people and good people. And they're going to be in a situation that they will not be able to manage it and they will have to make decisions. The Internet, the way it is right now, is going to be, on the one hand, a great opportunity for companies. And I'm a great believer in the Internet. But companies have to take into consideration and CEOs have to take into consideration, it's not going to stay in governments. It's going to move into the corporations.
BARTIROMO: I want to ask you about solutions, obviously. But before I do, broadly speaking, where are the biggest vulnerabilities on the Internet?
Mr. KOCHAVI: On the Internet, one is that I can attack someone personally and very specifically, but stay anonymous. So there's no accountability. And then, if I really know how to operate the Internet properly, I can turn it to a really popular blog so it means that it can be searched when you're going to search, it's going to be on the top. Now, each one of us has a cell phone. A cell phone became a sensor. So each one of us walks in the street can be his picture can be taken and then something can be written about him, and also it can get into the Internet and be on the top. So we live in a world that reputation becomes a real big issue because it's very easy to hurt you, and there's no way to remove it. So then it can happen—and you know, there's something interesting about it. It's a democratic problem because it's a problem for a child, it's a problem for a regular person, it's a problem for a leader of a country, to problem for a CEO. Each one of them is going to face the same kind of problem. Someone who's anonymous can say about you whatever he wants, he can push it through the right way into blogs, to popular blogs, and then it's going to reach the top of the blogs, and that's what you have, you have the story about yourself. So--and I think we're going to see it more and more when people are going to understand. And that's the power of the Internet. It has not borders and it moves really fast. So companies have to take this in consideration, and they need also to consideration that we live in a world with no borders. So even threat is not any more only a local issue. It's not the crime that happens only my country, but it can be on the outside of the border because there's no border. What's happening on the other side of the border is going to be my problem also.
And I'm sure what I'm going to say right now the president can help us much more to understand, but I give an example. When the Tunisian events started to happen, about 30,000 Tunisians moved in--illegally into Italy because it was easy to move illegally to Italy. Sarkozy stood over there and say to Berlusconi, `Forget it, I don't want them.' But we have both--we have open borders between us. So let's talk about open borders. And by the way, in two days there's going to be discussion in the EU about how should we look at the concept of our open borders. Why? Because things like this are going to challenge some of the basic concepts. I'm a great believer in open borders, but we need to secure them to stay open. We need to secure the Internet to stay in the kind of Internet that you were talking about when you were president. We need to bring this component inside. If not, we're going to face, I would say, the new subprime of the Internet and the borders.
BARTIROMO: So we'll get to solutions on a corporate level. But, Mr. President, what about that? Is there a role for government in terms of ensuring that the information out there is accurate and someone cannot just hurt someone else through their reputation by attacking them with stories?
Mr. CLINTON: Well, I think it would be a legitimate thing to do. But if you wanted to do it--for example, you wanted to set up some sort of agency that would be a--ring the bell, you know, or--on the heavily visited sites, `This allegation has been made and here are the facts.' If the government were involved, I think you'd have to do two things, and--or if you had a multinational group like the UN. I think number one, you'd have to be totally transparent about where the money came from. And number two, you would have to make it independent. It would have to be like an independent--let's say the US did it, it would have to be an independent federal agency that no president could countermand or anything else because people wouldn't think you were just censoring the news and giving a different falsehood out. That is, it would be like, I don't know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors. And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it's a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money. But if it's a government agency in a traditional sense, it would have no credibility whatever, particularly with a lot of the people who are most active on the Internet.
BARTIROMO: Right. And even what we saw in the Middle East, was it Egypt where they wanted to shut down information, but Google got around it.
Mr. CLINTON: Yeah.
BARTIROMO: So it's not that easy.
Mr. CLINTON: It's not that easy.
Mr. KOCHAVI: No.
Mr. CLINTON: And well, like I said, we tried to keep the--these--the--it's very interesting. You know, these diplomatic cables that got released, that was an accident that they were on that secure Defense Department site, almost. In other words, the real secrets they were trying to protect on the Defense Department site had to do with national security issues. But because we had begun, and this is a good thing, to share more information between the military, the intelligence agency and the diplomats, and pool it all, they just dumped the whole mess of diplomatic cables in the same pot. So remember, the original WikiLeaks were about what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Mr. CLINTON: And it was bad, but it basically confirmed what people already knew. So that's really when the guy that ran WikiLeaks got impatient because he wasn't getting enough street credibility for this great coup. And they dumped all the diplomatic cables, most of which didn't amount to a hill of beans, but because they embarrassed people they were newsworthy. So I'm just saying, I don't think this has a perfect resolution. I think you will see continued attempts to secure those things which 99 percent of us would agree should be secured, and some will be successful and some will fail. Then I think you will see continued attempts to control things which 99 percent of us think should not be controlled, and some will be successful and some will fail. This is the new battleground of democracy and freedom in the 21st century world, and we got to get used to it and try to make sure that the people who reflect our values and our interests win more than they lose.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Mr. CLINTON: I think that's the best you can do. There's no perfect resolution to this.
BARTIROMO: You're talking about impact on reputations. Mr. President, have we seen a long-lasting impact of the WikiLeaks situation?
Pres. CLINTON: I don't believe there's any long-lasting impact on our relationships. People know that we didn't leak this on purpose. People know that the secretary of state and her top team, they had nothing to do with this. The ones who want to know have to know that it was an incidental leak as a result of national security cooperation. They also know that these diplomats, a lot of them were just giving their impressions. That's what you hire people to do; I mean, to give you a real life, flesh and blood impression. And the opinions may be accurate or not, and they were not represented as anything more that what they were, but opinions. That's very important. So I don't think there's any permanent damage.
On the other hand, I think a lot of these people will be careful what they say to America's representatives around the world for a while because they'll have bad memories of the, you know, the leaked memo.
BARTIROMO: Mati, let's talk about solutions. Compare what's gone on a government level, what we've seen in terms of uprising, to corporate situations. You just made a pretty provocative statement, that the same thing can happen on a corporate level. What's a company to do?
Mr. KOCHAVI: Trust to be able to looking at prediction in a much more serious way, in a much more specific way. I have to see where my investments are, I have to see where my franchises are to be able to see what's happening over there, to be able to predict in a much more deep way. What does that mean? The Internet, for instance, became today the place that we all use to talk. Start using very strong technologies that we are offering, for instance, for our customers for what we call beep Internet. To look for the open blogs that are talking about your company, about what people feel about your company. They are sharing it today over the Internet, you just have to find it. They're keeping it as an open discussion.
BARTIROMO: Aren't we doing that already?
Mr. KOCHAVI: No, most of us don't do it this way. And then, it's not enough about technology. I mean, one of the concepts that we as a company made is that we need human representatives on the ground. We have 120 countries in 900 cities around the world where we have people over there who validate information that we see in the Internet. So when we come to a CEO and we tell him, `You have a problem over there,' we can validate it not only from what it says in the Internet, but also what we--what the people on the ground are telling us. Because it's very interesting. Once we all believed in human intelligence. And that doesn't work, and the idea is right now to combine all this information.
It's not about censorship, it's about sensitivity. To be sensitive to what's happening, to catch it here--when it's still a low signal, when it's just a spark, and to be able to understand what does it mean, and then to be able to manage it properly. So the power of predicting and preventing and preparing is going to be critical. I think that the companies who are going to be the most important global companies in the next 10 years will have to look at a threat and a risk in a different way. They'll have to manage it from political point of view on a national level, on the company level. They'll have to look at trends of crime, they'll have to look at environmental issues, they will have to look at epidemic issues around their companies. They'll have to look at it in a much more sophisticated way. They'll have to build themselves a command and control center that tells them what to do and how to catch it when it's in the beginning.
Pres. CLINTON: I believe, actually, that there's a good analogue between what countries have to do and what companies have to do. And I think, just like I said before, I think there's some positives and some negatives about this, which you said. For example, the most negative likely threat for corporations is just to disgruntle somebody in a country you operate in who's mad and puts a bad story out; or, more likely, someone who's shorted the stock who wants people to think terrible things have happened; or someone who has invested who creates some cock and bull story that's not true about how, you know, unlimited riches are about to shower down on this company, and then the stock goes up and they get out before the facts are out. I think renegade shareholders or would-be shareholders are the most likely abusers of this.
On the other hand, I believe that the technology will help to move the governing business model of global corporations back away from the last 30 years--which has essentially been shareholders first, shareholders second, shareholders third--back to what used to be taught in business school, which is that corporations are stakeholder organizations and they have obligations to shareholders, to employees, to customers and to communities. And the lead article in the latest edition of the Harvard Business Review by Michael Porter and another gentleman--I'm apologize for not remembering his name, his collaborator--argues that in the 21st century we'll have to stop thinking about corporate social responsibility over here as an adjunct, and instead corporations will have to think about creating shared value so that the workers actually get a fair share and the communities feel like that they've been treated fairly.
And, you know, I do a lot of this work now with Canadian mining companies, and we work in Latin America and Peru and Colombia, in areas where the miners are active to try to invest in education and health projects and economic diversification. And the goal is when the mines play out, the people will be better off, not worse off. Evo Morales is president of Bolivia today because people believed that the miners came, invested--the mining companies—worked the miners to death, and when they left their kids had no better future than they did. So I believe you're going to see--the downside is I think a lot of companies can really get shafted by lies and manipulations over this, unless we have a correct--a quick--his proposed solution, you know, correction. The good side is it might move us a little back toward the stakeholder model, which I believe is more consistent with building a positive, interdependent world.
BARTIROMO: You made the point that companies will be answering to more than just shareholders, and it's more stakeholders, and that's employees, constituents, communities that they operate in. But someone's got to police that, like you said earlier. So whose responsibility? I mean, is the board? Is it the same structure that we have had in place?
Pres. CLINTON: There may be more pressure for including different constituencies on boards. But the only point I'm trying to make is if you look at--until about--if I had gotten an MBA when I got out of college, I would've--and all my friends who got MBAs, they were taught, as people in business had been taught since the 1930s, that we were a stakeholder society. Then we became a shareholder society. We were taught that was fuzzy thinking, and everybody else will be just fine as long as the shareholders made money. But since people held shares for three and a half minutes and nobody really cared about the corporate enterprise, what happened is America had the biggest increase in income inequality of any wealthy country in the world, and there are many other wealthy countries that have more social mobility--that is, where the American dream is alive and well than it is here--because we went whole hog down the shareholder route. So it's--like everything else, it's valid. So we've got to get back to a little bit of a stakeholder mentality, and I think that will be a positive result of this. But I also think there'll be a lot of really unscrupulous things tried to wreck companies by either printing bad stories to drive their stock down, or printing bogus stories to drive their stock up in the short run hoping they won't be caught, and they can get out with their winnings in the meanwhile.
BARTIROMO: Mati, is it the Internet, or is it specifically social media?
Mr. KOCHAVI: No, it's the Internet, and it's open borders. It's all those great ideas that are symbols of freedom, and they should stay there. But if we don't look at the risk they create, we might lose them. So we are advocating, as a company, for keeping everything open. But in order to keep it open, we have to secure it. If we spoke in--president spoke about an MBA student. So the new MBA students have to, you know, we are talking--we are telling--we are talking to a lot of CEOs, and we're telling them, `Here is a new position you should have in a company, a chief assessment officer.' If a chief financial officer crunches the numbers, this guy is to crunch the conditions; how the conditions of my company, wherever it is around the world, are changing in real time, and what do I do about it? Because real time is really fast. We're on the speed of light. So we need someone who can analyze it all the time, look at it all the time and say, here are the political changes, here are environmental changes.
Here are--I mean, look what's happening in the world, how things are—how things are changing so fast. Look what happened to Sony, they--which is a scandal. What happens to major American banks, what happens--I mean, just look at the cyber. In 2007 we had 500 million connected devices. In 2010 we had already 35 billion connected devices. They're talking about in 2013 we're going to have about one trillion connected devices, which are all of the cyber. But the cyber is not secured. And we--by the way, we don't know how to secure it yet. But everything is on the cyber. You go to work, you write on your cyber, you make your phone calls, it's on the cyber. Everything—all of life is on the cyber, but we don't know how to secure it yet. It's like if you came to my bank and say, `I want to deposit money.' I'm going to tell you, `No, it's great. We are a great bank. We can--we promise a 70 percent success to secure your money. Thirty percent, I don't know, maybe someone's going to break in and take the money.' That's what's happening right now with the cyber. And we don't create contingency plan. What's going to happen if we have to shut down the cyber? Who's going to tell the CEO of the company, `We have too many attacks on the cybers, we better shut it down.' And if you shut it down now, we don't shut down the company. Who's going to tell the CEO that the great growth of crime around the company or inside the company is going--is going up, and we have to deal with it? Who's going to tell all those messages to the CEO so he can make the right decisions? Who is going to evaluate this information in real time for him? He needs--we need a new approach because of the change of space and time.
BARTIROMO: And AGT is an all-encompassing security company. So you mentioned creating predictions, looking at all areas of information flow so that you can predict an outcome.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
BARTIROMO: What else?
Mr. KOCHAVI: So we're dealing basically with three things, we call it the three P's. It's trust--the power of prediction, which is a very complex technology that we have and which really take a lot of information. And information is not generic, there's nothing generic about a solution. It's all tailor-made. So one thing is the ability to predict specifically, and it's based on specific sites and this--your specific location. It's not a general approach.
Then the prevention, which you should have a very sophisticated tool box as a CEO. If something happens, what do I do? You know, if you use--if you choose the wrong solution, it might create a bigger fire. So you also have to choose the right solution of how to deal with the event. So have to have a very sophisticated tool box, which is based on machine learnings, which is based on computerizing human experience and telling you, this is what happened in the past and this is the way we can deal with it.
And the third P, which is very important, is the preparation. If something--it--we can't prevent it, how do we deal with it? What do I do immediately? What are my--what are my--what are my plans? What are my drawer plans that I can tell--take out and to deal with the event when it happens? How do I save my--the life of my employees? How do I protect my assets when things change? Because things change really fast. So if a CEO in a global company--you don't need it if you have a small restaurant in the street. But if you have a global company which is over many different countries with many different politics and different environments and different crime and different Internet, you need to be able to look at what's happening in real time.
BARTIROMO: Mr. President, has the Internet contributed in terms of making America more vulnerable to terrorism?
Pres. CLINTON: Yes, but it's also increased our capacity to communicate with people and find information to help us prevent terrorist acts. Like I said, this is the human drama that's as old as society playing out in a different arena where things happen faster. I mean, if you're a big company, for example, you need to do what we started to do in America in my second term, when I set up the first serious cyber terrorism effort. And we've been getting better at it all along. You sit around and think about how every single bad thing that could happen to you related to technology, and then you try to devise a way to either stop it or immediately stop its negative consequences. And if you can't do it, then you have to seriously consider whether you keep doing things in the same way. And that's what countries have to do.
I mean, I used to tell people in my second term after--when we were always trying to get bin Laden, I said, you know, what would we do if some—could somebody wash all the bank accounts? Could someone shut down all the electrical grids? Could someone go to all of our nuclear plants? Because I had been governor of Arkansas, which has the longest continuously operating nuclear power plants in the country, and they worked fine. But we don't have an answer to the story. So we keep these plutonium fuel rods, just like the Japanese had, on site, and you have to keep them cooled. You have to keep them cold. And what happened in Japan was no one ever thought they'd have a 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami, which broke apart the containers and led to the release of contaminated water. Now, it looks like it's not going to be nearly as bad as we worried that it would be. But that's what I think you have to think about. You--if you're running a big company, you've got to think, what is every single bad technology thing that can happen to us? And how can we either stop it, or immediately recover, I mean, instantaneously if it happens? And if there is some area where we can't do either one of things, we have to seriously consider whether we're going to keep doing that in that way. I mean, we--and I don't--and that's what countries have to do. But there isn't an answer. That's what he's telling you. You just--it's a constant struggle. Ingenuity, though. The 21st century is a battle between the forces of integration and the forces of disintegration conducted at warp speed. That's what it is. And they're not--and, I mean, I'm not talking about just terrorists. Most of these people don't want to kill you, they just want to get rich or be in a position or whatever. But it's the consequences of this are very significant.
BARTIROMO: Have we seen efforts to do that by terrorist organizations, shut down the banking system, close down connections?
Pres. CLINTON: I'm quite sure you have. And I'm quite sure you've seen efforts by us to stop them; and us and our allies, and to mess with terrorist bank accounts, and to mess with shipments of dangerous materials going to places that are going to go into weapons.
And let me say that--I always say this. When Hillary got on the Armed Services Committee, which is right after she became a senator, I made up my mind that as long as she was there--and then she became secretary of state—I would never take a security briefing unless asked to do so by the president for a specific reason, so I could say things like this and you would know I have no inside information. And you will be proud that I, like all Americans, knew nothing about the bin Laden operation, which had been debated in the administration in a tiny number of hands for months, until the president called and told me. And I placed two calls to my wife on that day, and all I was told is, `She's at the White House and can't talk to you.' So we—my family went out of its way not to be in a position to be compromised. So I don't know this, but I know what happened when I was there. And I know what kind of people you're dealing with. And you have to assume your adversaries are smart. If they're dumb, you're going to win anyway.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: So never underestimate your adversaries. Assume you're fighting with a guy with a young Arnold Schwarzenegger body and Albert Einstein's brain because--always. Because if they're dumb, you're going to win anyway. So you should always assume you're against the smartest adversary that ever existed, figure out what they could do, figure out what your response is. If there is no response, think about changing the way you do business, even if it slows you down a little bit. That's what you have to do. That's the only responsible way to proceed, I think.
Meanwhile, your guys got--you have guys like him who are better at this than anybody else, and they're thinking about how you can protect yourself. But there isn't going to be a--human ingenuity being what it is, there is no
perfect solution of this.
Mr. KOCHAVI: My remark to you, Arnold when he was younger, not today.
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah, that's what I said.
BARTIROMO: How long were we monitoring him before we went in, Mr. President?
Pres. CLINTON: Well, all I know is what the--what the president said, and which is now what's been in the press. They looked at this for a couple of months and he was never positively identified because he didn't leave the compound. But the fact that the person living there never left was in itself an enormous indicator that it was him, given the other people that were going in and out. Now, that's what--that's all been in the press. So I think it was interesting what the benefits of technology were, and in this case what their limits were.
BARTIROMO: Someone told me that when they travel to China, when they travel--when Treasury travels to China and travels to Russia and other places, the staffers at Treasury are not allowed to bring their BlackBerrys.
Pres. CLINTON: Oh, yeah, because they go into them.
BARTIROMO: Because as soon as we enter Russian air space, they have access to all our stuff, whatever--your Rolodex, your calendar--all of your information...
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah, absolutely.
BARTIROMO: ...in your BlackBerry. So they're not allowed. So I said to him, `So do we do the same thing?'
Pres. CLINTON: But look, this is just a modern version of what's been going on...
BARTIROMO: He said no comment.
Pres. CLINTON: But when I went to Taiwan as a young governor, the first time in 1979, right before our daughter was born--I never forget this--all the officials from America--even me, I was just a governor, first time governor--had to live in the state hotel. And it was a very authoritarian government. And you knew that there were listening devices there. So this is not new, it's just more pervasive because the technology's more sophisticated.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right
Pres. CLINTON: When the United Nations meets in New York, countries with big stakes in national security--the United States, Russia, China, all these places--they have these bilateral meetings. The really important meetings, they buy suites and then they set up little, like...
Mr. KOCHAVI: Rooms.
Pres. CLINTON: ...tents within the rooms that are soundproof so you can have a confidential conversation. This has been going on for years, this is not something new. So all you got to do is just realize this technology just takes it to another level. That's why I say--see, that's their answer to it, so they still can have their meetings physically present. We have to have the technological answer to it, and if you don't you got to think about doing business in a different way.
Mr. KOCHAVI: And we got in cyber...
BARTIROMO: Well, which is why when your secretary of state goes somewhere, they probably always put her in the same room, the government.
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah, they all--the US government has these...
BARTIROMO: They always put you...
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: ...things--and the president takes them to all these meetings that--where there might be people present who have conflicting national security agendas.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Regarding cyber, there's no question there's role of cyber. It's--as we talk, some of the governments will announce it, I'm sure, soon, some of the modern governments, Western countries, have suffered severely lately with govern--with cyber attack which was done by other countries, not by terrorist organization. And it's there, and it happens all the time. There are clear events happening right now. I would be very careful about announcing them, but there are clear events that are happening right now, and I can pinpoint them and we know they're happening, and they're taking place as we take. And by the way--as we talk. By the way, the same thing is happening with companies. I can tell you that I've--CEOs of companies who are coming and telling to us--telling us, we know that we have been affect severally--several times with--on cyber by competition, we think, but we don't want to talk about it publicly but we need someone to secure us. So it's a very known fact.
Pres. CLINTON: Well, yeah, let's take something that's been in the press. The temporary dysfunction of the centrifuges in Iran, which the Iranians accused the Israelis of being complicit in, then they accused the Americans, and I don't know who else they accused. OK, we all think all this stuff is horrible when we're thinking about our country and our companies. But knowing what you know about the world, if you could, without firing a shot, without hurting a soul, wreck or even delay for a couple of years Iran's nuclear program, wouldn't you...
Mr. KOCHAVI: Wonderful.
Pres. CLINTON: ...wouldn't you do it? And if you would do it, then knowing what you know about people who view the world very differently than you, how can you be surprised if they try to do the same thing, to loot your company, to inflate or depress the price of your stock, or to--or to otherwise present a security threat to your country? This is just a part of the modern world. You should just--you're just going to have book it and live with it and try to win. That's what you have to do.
BARTIROMO: What about the cost of this? I mean, I guess there are two angles on that: the cost of not doing anything on a--on a corporate or a--or a country level, and the cost of putting the protective measures in place to ensure that you are secure.
Mr. KOCHAVI: I think there is something the president with I believe—I couldn't agree with more. The good people have to win with the technology. I mean, technology was always there. You know, Lenin admired the telegraph because that's the way he made the revolution in Russia. And Ayatollah Khomeini, he admired the tape recorder because that's the way he mess—sent his messages to the Iranian in the--during the revolution. So technology is there. Eventually you hope that the right people will have a better technology and will be able to fight for a better world by using the technology. And that's something that happens since the beginning of human being.
It's going to cost. The danger of attack on cyber is something that we still don't really understand how big it can be because all our life right now is in cyber. I mean, take a small thing. Imagine that we'll get an attack not on something big like banks or like nuclear facilities, just attacking your system of blood supply. And now you don't know which blood, what type it is. You stop--you can destroy a country that way, if everything is mixed up. So it's from very small things and very small event that can take place. And by the way, sometimes you even don't know that it took place. This is what makes it even more dangerous. So you see an event happening and you say, `How did it happen? How come suddenly something doesn't work? How come there is no function?' And you even don't realize that there was a cyber attack behind this. And by the time you find out, no one is anymore interested in it. So it's going to be a lot of money, a lot of investments. It's awfully better than war where people are being killed.
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah.
Mr. KOCHAVI: But it can...
Pres. CLINTON: And it's personal. Let me give you an example. Is there anybody in this room--you have to be a certain age to be thinking about this, but--who would have a will or a living will that was only in cyberspace?
Mr. KOCHAVI: Very interesting.
Pres. CLINTON: Or would you demand that there be one copy on real, old-fashioned paper locked up somewhere so that no one could change your will? Living wills are important, I think, because particularly in the United States, we spend an enormous percentage of our health care dollars on the last couple of months of life, and a lot of it would not be spent if there were living wills. My father-in-law went through that, and so Hillary and I, as soon as he passed away, we went right out and executed living wills. It relieves a lot of burdens on the hospitals and other things. But the point is, I would never have my will--and I'm--you know, it's not like it's that big or important, but it's important to me, whatever I have to give to my family and whatever else I want to support. I'd be appalled to think somebody could fool with it.
Mr. KOCHAVI: But your account is on the cyber.
Pres. CLINTON: Yeah, it is.
Mr. KOCHAVI: So you're going to have this will, but you're going to have the account on the cyber.
Pres. CLINTON: It is. But I do have a physical copy in one place, and I think that's important. So I think, you know, one of the things we may have to think about is whether our backstops and a lot of things are old-fashioned. Maybe snail mail, maybe more couriers.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Oh.
Pres. CLINTON: Maybe--or whatever.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: You know, we may have to just do things like this. There's a reason, by the way, when we started breaking into the terrorist computers, that they started delivering things in person, by hand. Not just money, but messages. Because they knew that we--they couldn't anymore stay ahead of us. And so for a lot of perfectly legitimate functions, you might want to do the same thing. The relative cost of that for many companies and families will not be so great.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: Even for countries, the relative cost of that will not be so great if it protects you, God forbid, against, you know, something literally being wiped out. I mean, you could imagine how somebody would try to wipe our history out or re-write our history or whatever. You just have to--you got to have some fail-safes.
Mr. KOCHAVI: And that's, by the way, part of the contingency plan that we're giving to some of the companies, which is just what you're saying. We're telling them, `You have to learn how to work also without a cyber.'
BARTIROMO: This is a great point. And as we wrap up here, let me--let me ask that very question on a--on a--on a broader level for America, because these are huge issues that we're talking about, Mr. President. So whether it's the securing of our information or this unprecedented conversation we're having right now about raising the debt limit, or vulnerabilities elsewhere in terms of unemployment and economic issues, people are worried about the standing of America today. We see China growing as fast as it is, and India growing as fast it is. Is America losing its momentum?
Pres. CLINTON: Yes, but not because they're growing. That is, we should welcome the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of Brazil, the return of the Russians to some level of prosperity. First of all, intelligence and hard work are evenly distributed throughout the world. You can't begrudge people for trying to escape poverty. It's a--it's a noble endeavor. It's a legitimate good thing to do. I wish there were more people escaping. What happened to us is that, like a lot of people who make it, we got careless and self-indulgent. And the people that dominated our institutions did what has happened since the Sumerian civilization went away thousands of years ago. The people who run institutions that made you great at some point become more interested in holding onto the present than creating the future, or holding on to their positions than advancing the purpose for which the institutions were set up. So what we need to do is to modernize to do what we have to do to compete and win.
I still like America's chances. Everybody--people have been betting against us since George Washington took on the British with soldiers that didn't have boots in the winter, and they said he had a bad set of false teeth, he was nothing more than a mediocre surveyor, he was a lousy general. An editor of a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper, when Abraham Lincoln was about to inaugurated, said, `He was in the legislature down here. We know him. He's nothing more than a baboon, and we'd be better off if somebody got rid of him.' Thank God they didn't get rid of him till the end of the Civil War. I mean, people have been betting against--everybody that's bet against for 227 years has lost money.
But the frustrating thing about America is what Winston Churchill said when they kept baiting him before we got into World War II. He said, `America always does the right thing after exhausting every other alternative.' So I had thought at one point a couple years ago we were through of the alternative exhaustion phase. That's the real problem, and that's what I worry about. I worry that the rigidity of--and it's not--this model we face, the big problem in the private sector is what I said, I think we went too far in favor of shareholder owning in the private sector instead of stakeholder one. In the public sector we adopted this truly foolish model in 1980 which has continued to rear its ugly head, that government is inherently bad, would mess up a two-car parade, every tax is bad, every tax cut is good, every regulation is bad, every deregulation is good. There is no successful country on planet Earth that does not have both a very powerful and successful private sector, and an effective government--and increasingly, effective nongovernmental organizations.
So I don't view the rise of--how can you begrudge the Chinese? They move more people out of poverty into the middle class than anybody ever has in the same--in 20 years. India's got the world's biggest middle class, but they still have the world's largest number of poor people. How can you begrudge them their success?
BARTIROMO: We're not necessarily begrudging them.
Pres. CLINTON: No, no. But all I'm saying is, their success is not our problem. It's our failure to adapt...
Mr. KOCHAVI: Right.
Pres. CLINTON: ...to reform our public and private institutions that have put us in the hole we're in. Keep in mind, before September the 15th, 2008, before this financial meltdown, median family income in the United States on September the 15th, 2008, was, after inflation, $2,000 lower than it was the day I left office. After producing 22.7 million jobs, we produced 2.5 million before the meltdown. We went from first to 12th in the world in percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees for the first time since the end of World War II and the rise of the GI Bill, even though we remain first in percentage of young people going. Because after inflation, college costs went up 75 percent while the capacity to generate money went down. And we became a country dominated by finance housing and consumer spending as people took out more and more debt to compensate for the fact that they never got a pay increase. We need to fix a lot of this stuff.
We spend 17.2 percent of our income on health care. Nobody else in our size spends more than 10 1/2. That's Canada. Germany and France are routinely rated to have the best health care systems in the world, get better outcomes at 10 percent. That's a trillion dollars a year we just blow because we can't bear to think about what really works in other places. We're going to have to get with the competition and get back in the future business.
I really don't need to be negative, I just think that my daughter's generation has taught me that denial is not just a river in Egypt. And we all deny inconvenient facts, and we all want to look at the Web sites and the television shows that agree with us, and it's insane. Nobody's right all the time, nobody's wrong all the time, and we've got to stop just listening to people we agree with and get back in the problem solving business. If we do, that's what we're good at and we'll do fine. But you like what those Navy SEALs did--and even our adversaries must have admired them--that was the product of years and years and years of training and technology developed and intelligence research and learning by trial and error. Old-fashioned work, thinking. That's what we have to do in energy and health care and economics and banking and finance and the way the government does its budget, all this stuff. If we do that, we're going to be just fine.
BARTIROMO: That's a long list. What's the most--that--what's the most pressing issue this country faces right now, practically speaking?
Pres. CLINTON: Getting the economy going again. You can't balance the budget if you don't get the economy going again. If you overdo the austerity now, you can look in the UK, they're having it already. If you jump the gun on--if interest rates are zero--keep in mind, I could impose budget discipline when I was president and we got twice the deficit reduction we thought we'd get out of the '93 budget act because we had an old-fashioned business cycle recession with interest rates that were too high. So we drove down interest rates, drove up bond prices, drove up investment, and we were off to the races. And we had a source of new jobs, the escape of information technology from Silicon Valley and the video game companies in Texas and Route 128--or 28 in Massachusetts, all over the country, in every aspect. Here, with no inflation and no demand, if you have further austerity, you will just reduce government revenues more than you reduce government spending.
You've got to get growth back. And there's plenty of money out there. Banks have $2.2 trillion. They've got about $160 billion in questionable mortgages, so they got to hold reserves for that to cover the loss. So that leaves 2 trillion. If you loan at 10 to 1, and traditional bank lending max is 12 to 1, so you loan to 10 to 1, that's $20 trillion in lending capacity. Companies--American based companies, multinationals--have $2 trillion that not yet committed to overseas investment, dividends or employee and executive compensation. Which means they want to reinvest some in America to get us going again. And we need to find out what it takes. And if it's not illegal or immoral, we ought to do it to get the banks to lend and the corporations to invest. That's what I think. I don't think it's very complicated. That's the number one priority.
The social programs--the best social program in the world is a job. And we America has to function a little better again before we'll have the collective courage to deal with the Medicare problem, the Social Security problem, the--all this other stuff. I want us to do all this other. Best way to get it, by the way, is to change the way we produce and consume energy. It is the single most job-impactful thing we could do in America.
BARTIROMO: Consuming--the way we consume energy. This is the final question, though, Mr. President. As the leader who balanced the budget, will this government be able to balance the budget and get us out of deficit?
Pres. CLINTON: Well, it took me my last four budgets were balanced budgets, surplus budgets. The debt is much more severe now, and the source of it was financial collapse. So the answer is probably not. But they can make a hell of a dent in it, but only if they can couple a growth strategy with a deficit reduction strategy. If you try to do it only with cutting spending with demand for money at zero and interest rates low and with limited growth, it won't work. So we've got to have a--that's why, interestingly enough, the bipartisan deficit commission, you know, the Erskine-Bowles and Alan Simpson commission, they--it's a good plan. It's tough as nails, but it's good. But they recommended none of it take effect till next year, till we were absolutely sure the recovery was well under way in America, and that we calibrated in so that it--the bite got bigger and bigger as the private sector growth got greater and greater. I think that's what we'll have to do. If we do that, then President Obama, let's say, wins another term, I think by the time he leaves office we'll be looking at a balanced budget again. But it'll be very difficult to get there just because of the numbers. We'd have to have--we'd probably have to average 4 percent growth for three or four years. Not inconceivable, since it's been so bad for so long, but challenging.
BARTIROMO: So you do think he wins another term?
Pres. CLINTON: I do, yeah. I'll be surprised if he doesn't win.
BARTIROMO: Mr. President, thank you very much. Mati Kochavi, thank you.
Mr. KOCHAVI: Thank you.
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