State must drill to the bone

The news that the prime minister, top government ministers and security officials had their mobile phones tapped by unidentified eavesdroppers for months, if not years, has thrown Greece’s public into a deep sense of concern. The sight of a political system that appears to be so exposed to the activities of spies that it fails to secure the privacy of communication even at the top echelons of government power has naturally shaken people’s confidence in the state itself. In a sign of determination to shed ample light on the case and track down the culprits, the judicial system ordered an appeals court prosecutor to launch an investigation into the snooping case. However, past experience shows that when it comes to issues that touch upon major political interests, the urge to defend the interests of the state often raises insurmountable obstacles to judicial investigation and delays attempts to track down the culprits. On top of the independent judicial investigation, the authorities must also show they possess the political will to drill to the bone of the tapping scandal. There is more than one way to do this. For example, it would be a brave political move on behalf of the government to appoint a well-known public figure known for his or her integrity and objectivity to head up the investigation. The search for the truth and the culprits by an unbiased public figure to whom the government will award all the requisite powers and responsibilities would mark a radical shift in Greece’s political tradition. Most importantly, such an initiative would help restore people’s shaken confidence in state institutions and would help do away with the clouds hanging over the country’s political system: the suspicion that illegal business networks might be in a position to spy on the contacts of the prime minister, in the name of domestic or foreign interests.

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