Tsipras accuses Mitsotakis of "audacity and cowardice"

Alexis Tsipras Greek Independence Day

Main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras began his speech in Parliament with a harsh attack against Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over his attitude in the wiretapping case so far.

The SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader accused Kyriakos Mitsotakis of "audacity and cowardice".

Specifically, Tsipras said: "The characteristics of a guilty person is audacity and cowardice. Mr. Mitsotakis hid for a month and a half and avoided coming to the parliamentary scrutiny, proving his cowardice."

"Today, he also proves the second characteristic of guilt, which is audacity," he added.

The government has been claiming that if surveillance had taken place, it was done not by government agencies but by “unknown” third parties.

However, the weekly To Vima reported last Sunday that Israeli-made Predator spyware was used not only by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) but also by elements of the Greek police in illegal surveillance.

Furthermore, the paper partly revealed the identities of Greek senior police officers who were involved in the surveillance. Their initials were published. To Vima claimed that the wiretapping was conducted by an EYP secret office located in the Athenian suburb of Agia Paraskevi.

The Greek wiretapping scandal, sometimes called the Greek Watergate, refers to the prolonged, en masse monitoring of the mobile phones of individuals who are prominent in the Greek political scene.

This includes the president of the social democratic party, PASOK, Nikos Androulakis, the journalists Thanassis Koukakis and Stavros Michaloudis, and members of the government and close affiliates of Mitsotakis, among others.

On July 29th, the Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency of the Parliament convened. The Head of EYP, Panagiotis Kontoleon, also attended the meeting. Leaks pertaining to the meeting circulated in the media. According to the information, Kontoleon admitted that EYP was monitoring Koukakis and that this happened at the request of foreign services.

On August 4, 2022, the newspaper EFSYN published an investigation linking the then General Secretary of the Prime Minister, Grigoris Dimitriadis, to the company that supplies the Predator software in Greece. On August 5, 2022, Dimitriadis resigned from the position of General Secretary to the prime minister. Less than an hour later, the leader of EYP also resigned.

On Monday, August 8th, Mitsotakis made a brief statement on the wiretappings, maintaining that he did not know about the wiretapping of Androulakis and that if he had known, he would not have allowed it to happen.

The opposition, which has called for a snap election, claims it is impossible for Mitsotakis not to have known, as EYP is under his direct supervision.

Earlier in November, a European Parliament committee that investigates spyware use by European Union governments soundly criticized the Greek government’s response to revelations that it had placed independent journalists and an opposition leader under surveillance.

“We’ve heard worrying reports of journalists feeling unsafe when they write about important topics, of the supposedly independent data protection authority being put under pressure, and of national security used as blanket justification for spyware abuse and surveillance,” committee rapporteur and European Parliamentarian Sophie in ‘t Veld said at the end of a visit to Athens.

A Greek Parliament inquiry into the surveillance scandal opened in September, but the ruling New Democracy party blocked dozens of witnesses proposed by opposition parties. This includes the head of EYP and Greece’s Prime Minister, as well as journalists whose phones had been wiretapped.

In addition, the ruling party-controlled committee conducting the inquiry decided that all pertinent meetings would be held behind closed doors and remain confidential. The committee’s concluding report would likewise be confidential. Consequently, this raised concerns about transparency.

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