Transparency falls victim to tapping

Over the course of Thursday’s press conference on the phone-tapping scandal, the responses of the three ministers to reporters’ questions sounded increasingly less convincing; now and then a hint of irony could be detected, although that alone could not conceal the ministers’ intense embarrassment and a prevailing sense of political defeat. But this is all quite easy to explain. After all, the official acknowledgement that unknown individuals tapped the mobile phones of the prime minister, half the Cabinet, a former PASOK minister and dozens of party and government officials can hardly be considered a happy moment for a government. Undoubtedly, when the government first pledged «transparency» it did not imagine that it would be of a kind where «tappers» could discover the plans and opinions of individuals working for the state and use this information according to their interests, depending on whether they are agents, spies or businessmen. Even if the whole Cabinet had been made available for questioning, it would still have been unable to fully clarify all aspects of this mysterious scandal. And the ministers’ failing is not chiefly due to their inadequate understanding of modern technology; their hesitation in pointing toward possible suspects and offering deeper explanations for the scandal is, rather, political in nature. Which secret services or business organizations could have had illicit interests? Who possesses the most sophisticated technology allowing the installation of the spy software at a central location? These and many other questions raised by the scandal remain unanswered. But perhaps the most important question concerns Greece’s inability to protect the private conversations of its prime minister.

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