Telemarketers have Homeland Security’s number

The Department of Homeland Security has this super-secret, secure "hotline" that is supposed to ring in the offices of the nation’s governors only times of national emergencies. Only, nobody told that to the telemarketers.

Reports USA Today:

Ever feel there’s no getting away from telephone sales calls?

You’re not the only one. The federal government has decided to put its own secret Homeland Security hotline to the nation’s 50 governors on the federal Do Not Call Registry, according to Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

The move came after a complaint Thursday by Minner, who said that when her line rings, chances are it’s not an emergency but an unwanted intrusion. "Every time that phone rings, it’s telemarketers," she said in Washington.

Minner keeps the secret homeland defense hotline in her office. Governors have them for instant communication with Washington in case of a major emergency. Minner says that when her line rings, it’s someone offering a time-share condominium or the latest deal on long-distance phone service.

"I wonder about the security of that line," Minner said.

She said other governors have reported similar interruptions, such as the caller who chirps, "Hello! Are you satisfied with your long-distance service provider?"

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle reported getting a similar call in 2003. The caller jangled nerves and the phone just as U.S. troops were launching ground combat in Iraq.

Telemarketers that use random-number call generators have been stumbling onto the secure phone lines by accident, Minner said.

So, she said, the federal government is at last doing what it recommends to millions of Americans with the same problem: placing the line’s number on the registry, which makes calls to the number by most telemarketers illegal.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said he was unaware of the problem.

No word on whether the governors’ phones ring only at dinnertime.

Homeland Security waqs "unaware" of the problem. And these are the folks who are charged with keeping us safe and secure?