August 8, 2006

UK police arrest three men over royal phone taps

By Katherine Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Three men have been arrested on
suspicion of intercepting telephone calls at the official
residence of the heir to the British throne, Britain's Prince
Charles, London police said on Tuesday.

The royal correspondent for top-selling Sunday newspaper
The News of the World is among the three suspects, the paper

The alleged phone tapping may have compromised the security
of members of the royal family and other public figures outside
the royal circle, Scotland Yard said.

"As a result of their inquiries police now believe that
public figures beyond the royal household have had their
telephones intercepted, which may have potential security
implications," police said in a statement.

British media speculated that the alleged tapping may have
involved phone calls of government ministers.

The three men, aged 35, 48 and 50, were arrested early on
Tuesday in the London area and are being held at a police
station in the capital. Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch
is leading the investigation.

The News of the World, which frequently dedicates its front
pages to royal "scoops" or exclusives, said its royal
correspondent Clive Goodman had been detained and was being
questioned by police.

Three members of staff at Charles's Clarence House
residence initially alerted the police to the alleged tapping
in December last year.

The alleged security breaches took place "over a
significant period," the police statement added. They raise
questions about royal security at a time of a heightened
terrorist threat.

But this would not be the first time that the royal family
has been the subject of telephone tapping.

Britain's Prince Charles, his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles
and his late wife Diana, Princess of Wales, were targeted by
phone tappers in the past, resulting in embarrassing details of
their complex private lives being thrust into the public

A tape of a conversation between Charles and Camilla
revealed an intimate relationship between the two while Charles
was married to Diana.

Diana's close relationship with a male friend while she was
married to Charles was also exposed by a phone tapper. James
Gilbey told Diana he loved her and affectionately called her

Those conversations were taped by hackers using radio