Iraq Shuts down Phone Network to Thwart CIA Eavesdropping

Telephone services provided by local telephone operators were switched off across almost the whole of Iraq yesterday. According to the press office of the Iraqi Civil Defence Authority, this is a necessary measure to which the government has had to resort in the interests of security. 'The CIA can no longer listen to our conversations,' said Mohammed Sabri, an official in the press office.

According to some sources, telephone calls are now possible only through a switchboard. An Iraqi government order has forbidden calls by satellite and mobile phone, except for foreign journalists, who can use these devices in press centres and press offices.