ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — President Reagan and Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger used an open radio telephone line last week to discuss plans to intercept the plane carrying four Palestinian hijackers and part of the conversation was picked up by a ham radio operator, White House spokesman Larry Speakes acknowledged today.
Speakes, aboard the presidential aircraft en route to Boise, Ida., was asked whether the overheard conversation had jeopardized the security of the top-secret operation.
At the time of the conversation Thursday afternoon, Reagan was flying back from Chicago aboard Air Force One. Weinberger, who had attended a meeting in Canada, was flying in a military plane to his vacation home in Bar Harbor, Me.
"They did talk," Speakes said, adding that Reagan did not use his aircraft's secure communications system and acknowledged that at least part of the conversation was picked up by an amateur radio operator.