EYP remains tight-lipped on tapping

The leaders of Greece’s secret service yesterday failed to tell MPs anything about their investigation into the phone-tapping scandal as the parliamentary committee which has been probing the matter for the last five months ended its inquiry for now. During questioning by MPs on the committee, the director of the National Intelligence Agency (EYP), Yiannis Korandis, and his deputy, Seraphim Tsitsibis, said that the secret service had been given a limited remit, suffered from a lack of resources and was hampered by Vodafone’s decision to deactivate the spy software before informing state officials. The EYP chiefs used an earlier judicial ruling preventing them from revealing details of the agency’s investigation as justification for not giving answers to many of the questions from the deputies. «The political leadership asked us to investigate in complete secrecy the phone numbers used to communicate with the ‘shadow phones,’» said Korandis. «That is what we did. Period.» In January, it was revealed that eavesdroppers had been listening in on some 100 mobile phones, including those used by the prime minister, some of his Cabinet and top security officials. The wiretapping began before the Athens Olympics in 2004. The spy software was installed at several of Vodafone’s communication centers and engaged 14 «shadow phones» to record conversations. Korandis said that the results of EYP’s probe were not enough to uncover who was behind the tapping. «We are still missing the main element. Vodafone’s decision to deactivate the software meant our hands were tied,» the EYP chief said. New Democracy MP Miltiades Evert accused EYP of failing to do its job properly and prevent a breach of security by the eavesdroppers. «Greece is surrounded by so many threats and we have been caught with our pants down,» Evert said. Korandis said that Evert’s comments highlighted the fact that EYP lacked the finances and technology to do its job properly.