Capabilities of our police now in doubt

It is only natural for us to condemn all terrorist acts, to be repulsed by the use of violence as a political or ideological argument and to feel absolute solidarity for Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and his family, who nearly became victims of a terrorist attack earlier this week. Voulgarakis may have declared his «absolute faith in the great capabilities of the police force» but both his faith and the capabilities of the force are seriously questionable. As was revealed after the blast, authorities had boosted Voulgarakis’s protection over the past month (following a reduction in protection when he switched to the Culture Ministry from the Public Order portfolio). Meanwhile bomb disposal experts had been conducting inspections nearly every day along the route the minister takes from his home on Lycabettus Hill to the Culture Ministry, reportedly because one of the many threatening messages received by Voulgarakis had been taken seriously. So it is surprising that, despite a massive security umbrella that had been monitoring the minister’s moves in a part of central Athens that is considered to be the most stringently protected, the terrorists managed to strike virtually unhindered. It is equally surprising that there were no victims. Generally, if terrorists are determined enough to strike their target, it is very difficult for security services to avert their attack. But in this case, the target had been under observation for some time. In view of the above, we should be skeptical about the capabilities of our security services as they were unable to avert an attack on one of the country’s best-guarded public figures.

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