OPINION

Passing the buck in state administration

As the story surrounding Saturday’s fatal helicopter crash continues to unravel, the general impression being created is that the «system» functioned with its customary sluggishness and lack of coordination. It is equally clear that certain individuals, at all levels of the hierarchy, are trying to cover themselves either by passing the buck to somebody else or by concealing the exact time they were informed of a problem with the Chinook flight. The head of the joint chiefs of staff, Giorgos Antonakopoulos, twice stated publicly that he was first briefed at 1.15 p.m. on Saturday but then corrected this to 2.15 p.m., saying there had been an «oversight.» Moreover, a top-ranking administrative official at Mount Athos revealed that shortly after the helicopter had been due to land he had made several telephone calls – to radar-monitoring officials, staff at Thessaloniki airport and also ministers – to find out if anything was amiss. This means that several «competent» individuals had been informed and should have been taking responsible action. But by the time Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos was officially informed, he had already heard about the incident from other sources, and by the time Spiliotopoulos informed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the PM too had been briefed. So, the «bad news» had been circulating for some time before it was officially acknowledged…