WASHINGTON — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained to a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that he's vexed by pesky dinner-time phone calls from sales people — ringing him on his secure line.
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Much like the Gotham police commissioner's secure line to the "bat phone" in the 1960s "Batman" television show, the kitchen of Bloomberg's Upper East Side townhouse has been outfitted for emergency top-secret communications.
Testifying at a Senate hearing on protecting America after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Bloomberg was asked about New York City's updated communications equipment that allows police, fire, health and other officials to talk to each other in a crisis.
Bloomberg mentioned his secure phone and the insurance sales people who regularly call him on it.
Following the hearing, Bloomberg stood before reporters who asked about as many questions about the "bat phone" as they did about New York's quest for more anti-terrorism funds.
"It's never been used other than to answer an occasional call for 'Do I want to subscribe to a particular magazine, buy an insurance policy' or some other such ridiculous thing," Bloomberg said.
Asked what thoughts race through his mind when it rings, Bloomberg deadpanned, "It's somebody trying to sell insurance. That's what I think."
For the record, the phone, which the mayor said has a secure device "that encodes on either end," is not red.
As for how salesmen tap into the super-secret line, Bloomberg said, "You can dial a number at random and eventually get to everyone in the world."
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