ATHENS – New Democracy lawmakers who make up a majority of a parliamentary committee investigating its government’s phone tapping and alleged use of spyware voted to keep the discussions and findings secret.
That overruled the objections of rival political party members on the panel and bars release of what is discussed, including the records of the meetings that will be accessible to them only in a guarded room, said Kathimerini.
The government lawmakers struck down any attempt to reveal why the cell phones of PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis and financial journalist were tapped and use of Predator spyware.
That was attached to the phone of Koukakis by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) when he opened a text message, he said, while Androulakis said an attempt to put it on his phone failed when he didn’t open a link.
Androulakis, also a Member of the European Parliament, said he discovered that when, suspicious of the use of spyware in the European Union, he took his phone to a research lab there and analysts found the Predator link.
He demanded to know why his phone calls were being listened to by EYP, the service saying only that it was “in the national interest,” and that the phones of 15,745 people were bugged.
The Greek Parliament committee’s New Democracy members also quashed any idea of letting the public know anything about Predator or spyware the government denied was being used.
Also blocked is what the findings would be about Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis denying he knew about the bugging although one of his first acts in taking office in July, 2019 was requiring EYP to report directly to him.
In this case, he said, that didn’t happen and led to the ouster of his former General-Secretary, his nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis and then EYP chief Pangiotis Kontoleon for allegedly keeping him out of the loop.
The other members of the investigative committee, from rival parties including PASOK and the major opposition SYRIZA, wanted to publish findings apart from those of national security but were voted down.
Unless there are leaks of the discussions and findings, it means whatever conclusion is reached about the scandal and the government’s role will never see the light of day, everything to be kept confidential.
Before that happened, citing secrecy around national security, all but one witness called before the committee refused to testify about the use of phone taps and spyware, putting a shroud over it.