Doubts grow over handling of phone taps

There is unease within the ruling conservative party over the phone-tapping issue while a poll published yesterday suggests that three in four Greeks believe the government has not told the whole truth about the affair. Sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that a number of top New Democracy figures have expressed concern about the way the government has publicly handled the revelations that several ministers and defense officials had their mobile phones tapped by unidentified eavesdroppers. The government decided to go public with the story at a press conference on Thursday. Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis is said to have been upset by the fact that he was not informed about proceedings and not asked to take part. Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis was concerned that the information given may have alluded to American involvement in the phone tapping. Sources said Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis felt let down that she had not been informed earlier that she was on the list of people being spied on. The spy software was discovered in the central system of the mobile phone company Vodafone last March. Synaspismos Left Coalition MP Panagiotis Lafazanis yesterday accused the government of allowing Vodafone to cover up the affair. He said the company’s license should be removed and CEO Giorgos Koronias should be prosecuted «This is a time for seriousness and responsibility from everyone,» said Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos yesterday. «Most of all, the justice system has to be allowed to complete its work unfettered.» He added that the government will recommend the forming of a parliamentary committee to look into the matter once the judicial investigation has been completed. A phone poll conducted by VPRC suggested that 73 percent of Greeks believe that the government has held back some information in relation to the tapping, while 39 percent said that the Karamanlis administration has not handled the matter properly. The poll, published in Sunday’s Eleftherotypia newspaper, indicated that 25 percent of respondents believe secret agents were behind the tapping and 23 percent believe foreign governments or embassies were involved. Sunday’s Kathimerini has learned that a specialist team, known as «OLAF,» was assembled under the auspices of the National Intelligence Agency (EYP) before the Athens Olympics in 2004. The team was responsible for monitoring phone calls in the run-up to and during the Games.

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