WASHINGTON - State Department Phone Service Out

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State Dept. Phone Service Out

The Associated Press Thursday, June 15, 2000; 11:35 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON  All the phones at the State Department were knocked out Thursday night, including lines into key offices like the 24-hour operations center.

The phones went down at about 8:40 p.m. EDT and were still out almost three hours later. While repair crews were at the building with generators, it was unclear when service would be restored, a department official said.

Patrick Kennedy, assistant secretary of state for administration, was on the scene overseeing the repairs, the official said. The staff working in the building were using cell phones to conduct business.

Shortly before midnight Thursday, the department's 24-hour emergency hot line for Americans traveling overseas was working sporadically.

Severe thunderstorms were moving through the region Thursday night, causing power outages for thousands of people, but it was unknown whether they were responsible for the State Department phone failure.

Wednesday, a fire, apparently caused by an electrical short, knocked out phone service in parts of the State Department and forced workers on two floors to evacuate the building after they locked up classified material. Much of the disrupted phone service was restored by Thursday afternoon


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 16, 2000

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