ATHENS – A financial journalist whose phone calls were being listened to by the Greek Intelligence Service (EYP) and had Predator spyware attached, said other reporters in the country were likely targets too.
“When it comes to journalists, it would be a mistake to assume that I was the only one being monitored,” said Thanasis Koukakis after testifying to a prosecutor looking into his case, said Kathimerini.
His case had drawn little attention until it was also revealed that EYP was listening to the phone calls of PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis – also a Member of the European Parliament.
Androulakis said he didn’t know that until after he had taken his phone to analysts at the European Parliament who told him there was an attempt to attach Predator that failed when he didn’t click in a link in a text message.
Koukakis said he had unwittingly opened an attachment which installed the spyware that the New Democracy government denies using although Citizen Lab in Toronto said it had been sold to Greece.
The Koukakis and Androulakis cases have rocked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government and led to the resignations of former EYP chief Panagiotis Kontoleon and the premier’s General-Secretary, his nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis, after he said they didn’t tell him about the phonetapping.
The journalist gave his deposition over four hours to Supreme Court prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos who is conducting a criminal investigation into the leaks of classified information and suspension of privacy rights, the paper said.
He said that he had lodged a complaint with the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) two years earlier about the wiretapping but had gotten nowhere.
That, however, led the government to change the privacy law and remove a requirement that people being tapped – some 15,700 – had no right to know about it. Mitsotakis also had put EYP under his direct control.
Koukakis said of his testimony the prosecutor didn’t, however, cover the spyware attempt but said, “What we have seen throughout this period is that journalistic research contributes to Justice.”
“The Mitsotakis government … essentially denied all Greeks the right to know from the responsible department as well as the regulator for privacy of communications if they have been monitored for reasons of national security,” Koukakis said.
“And in this same way they have denied you, they have denied me and even their political opponents like Nikos Androulakis to be informed that they had been monitored,” which in the PASOK leader’s case only Mitsotakis was wrong, if legal.