Surveillance of opposition leader was legal but wrong, accepts Greek premier

Enemies of Greece desire weak National Intelligence Service, says Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Surveillance of opposition leader was legal but wrong, accepts Greek premier

Surveillance of the Greek opposition leader from the Movement for Change (PASOK) party was legal but wrong, the country's prime minister said Monday.

I was informed only a few days ago that the National Intelligence Service (EYP) obtained legal authorization in September 2021 to wiretap the cell phone of Nikos Androulakis, who was then a Member of European Parliament, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in his televised address to the nation.

He said the wiretapping lasted only three months until Androulakis was elected as leader of PASOK.

“Although everything was done legally, the EYP underestimated the political dimension of this action. It was formally okay, but politically unacceptable,” Mitsotakis said.

This incident that caused cracks in the public’s confidence to EYP should not have happened, he added.

Mitsotakis said he would have never allowed this to happen, if he was aware of the situation.

However, reasserting the importance of the country's spy agency, he said: “I will be honest with you. There are many enemies of the country lurking around who would like a weak EYP.”

Surveillance scandal

On Friday, former EYP head Andreas Kontoleon, along with the prime minister's general secretary Grigoris Dimitriadis, resigned over the scandal that erupted last week when the then-intel chief told a parliamentary committee that his agency had been spying on journalist Thanasis Koukakis.

The committee's closed-door hearing came after Androulakis complained to top prosecutors about an attempt to hack his cellphone with Israeli-made Predator tracking software.

Opposition parties, including SYRIZA-PS, PASOK-KINAL, MeRA25 and KKE repeatedly remarked that the prime minister should bear the responsibility and an inquiry commission should be formed to investigate the scandal.