ATHENS – An embattled Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who went on the offensive after revelations the country’s spy service was listening to the phone conversations of a rival politician and journalist, will for a second time have to defend why he didn’t know and what he did about it.
That will come when the Parliament that is controlled by his majority New Democracy government, will again debate what happened and if a committee should be set up to investigate how it happened.
More fireworks are expected in the wake of PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis – also a Member of the European Parliament – finding out that the National Intelligence Service (EYP) was bugging his phone.
He said he found out about that only after he took his phone to research lab at the European Parliament which said there was an attempt to install Predator spyware on his phone – he said by EYP but the government has denied using it.
But Predator was successfully installed on the phone of financial reporter Thanasis Koukakis, said to be looking into ties between business and Mitsotakis, after the reporter clicked on a link in a text message attachment.
It failed with Androulakis, who didn’t open a link but the two cases have rocked the government and led the PASOK leader to demand a parliamentary committee probe even though New Democracy has a majority and can block it.
The major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said the government is running a deep spy state after it was also discovered that EYP is monitoring the phones of 15,475 people not named but said “in the national interest.”
A first debate saw Mitsotakis again note that he was not told of the bugging of the phones of Androulakis – and said he wouldn’t have allowed it – or of Koukakis, whose case he hasn’t discussed.