President weighs in on tapping case

President weighs in on tapping case

Amid the political turmoil whipped up by the wiretapping scandal, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou has demanded a probe into the tapping of a party leader’s phone by the National Intelligence Service (EYP).

The controversy, which surfaced last week amid rising European Union anxiety over the use of spyware software, caused a stir at home, with opposition parties dubbing the findings Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ personal Watergate.

Protecting the right to privacy was “a fundamental condition of a democratic and liberal society,” Sakellaropoulou said in a statement, noting that the respect of democracy transcends politics.

“It requires the immediate and full clarification of the wiretapping case,” Sakellaropoulou said.

Nikos Androulakis, the leader of Greece’s socialist PASOK party and a representative in the European Parliament, claimed last week that he had discovered the National Intelligence Service had been listening to his discussions last year. The head of EYP and the prime minister’s chief of staff were fired Friday.

According to a government spokesman, EYP tapped Androulakis’ phone, but the surveillance was authorized by a prosecutor and was legal. The prime minister was told of the eavesdropping last week.

Mitsotakis claimed in a public speech on Monday that he “would have never allowed it” if he had known.

The government on Monday said it would back a request submitted by main leftist opposition SYRIZA for a parliamentary investigation committee on that matter. 

For this reason, the date of Parliament’s reopening has been brought forward to August 22 so that matter can be debated.

The vice chair of the European Union’s PEGA committee looking into malware surveillance software, Cypriot MEP Giorgos Georgiou, has also written to the committee with a proposal for a delegation be sent to Greece to look into the claims. 

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