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Spy Interest in Astrology Calls Twitted

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Associated Press

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater on Friday ridiculed a published report that said the Administration is trying to determine if telephone calls between First Lady Nancy Reagan and her San Francisco astrologer may have been intercepted by Soviet spies.

“If the Soviets wanted to monitor White House phone calls to get information on the President, there are thousands of calls a day from White House staff of more significance,” Fitzwater said. “The most definitive information they’re likely to get (from Mrs. Reagan’s calls) is how many pizzas are ordered by the First Family.”

More seriously, he said Mrs. Reagan does not have or use a secure telephone, designed to prevent conversations from being overheard.

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Fitzwater was responding to a column by Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, published in newspapers Friday, that said a White House official had been asked to quietly find out whether Nancy Reagan had a secure line to astrologer Joan Quigley.

The Soviet Consulate in San Francisco can listen in on long-distance microwave-transmitted telephone calls coming into that city, the column said.

The Soviets would, however, have to recognize and select the calls from an immense volume of telephone traffic.

Most of Mrs. Reagan’s calls were made from the presidential retreat at Camp David or the White House, both top targets for Soviet bugging, although the column said many lines there run underground and are difficult to tap.

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