Minister plays down leaked report

Regional Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Wednesday played down the significance of extracts from US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks and published by the Guardian newspaper in which he is quoted as telling a former US ambassador in Athens that Greece?s National Intelligence Service (EYP) is ineffective and dangerous and that Greek police know the identity of virtually all members of domestic terrorist groups but do not have the evidence to prosecute them.

In comments to Skai Television, Chrysochoidis, previously in charge of the public order portfolio, spoke of ?hypocrisy? and ?conspiracy theories,? noting that the comments attributed to him had been made several times on the record in the past and did not constitute news. ?All this has been expressed publicly and I am surprised that it is being presented as a revelation,? he told Skai. The minister added: ?I have described publicly thousands of times the unsatisfactory situation that existed then. EYP was not fulfilling its role for the protection of the country.?

Chrysochoidis was responding to published extracts of a conversation he had in January 2010 with then US Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard, at the American Embassy in Athens. According to the embassy cables, Chrysochoidis bluntly remarked: ?EYP is nothing. It does not serve its mission of protecting Greece and in fact is dangerous to national security because of its many shortcomings, not least of which is a unionized labor force.? As a result, Chrysochoidis declared his intention to ?collapse and rebuild the service.? Another section of the cable notes, ?On domestic terrorism, Chrysochoidis said that the police know the identities of almost all the members of the current terrorist-anarchist groups but they lack evidentiary basis for arresting and imprisoning them.?

In a related development, an investigation carried out by Public Administration General Inspector Leandros Rakintzis, and whose results were made public on Wednesday, highlighted widespread mismanagement and misconduct within the ranks of EYP over the past two years. The corruption watchdog has submitted his report to a prosecutor.