Cellphone Spying Scandal Could Bring Down Greek Government
Aug. 6, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Greek government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis could become the fourth NATO government to collapse since the June 29 NATO summit in Madrid this year. In what is being called “Mitsotakis’ Watergate,” the scandal involves the wiretapping of Nikos Androulakis, the leader of PASOK, the country’s third major political party, and of journalist Thanasis Koukakis. The two earlier had made allegations that the government was monitoring their cellphones. In fact, Androulakis, who was said to have been wiretapped while he was a Member of the European Parliament, has certified proof from the European Parliament’s security department that his phone was hacked with spyware.
Mitsotakis has acted as the most pro-U.S., pro-NATO of any Greek government since the military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s. His decision to send heavy weapons to Ukraine was not popular at all.
On Aug. 5, Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ General Secretary Grigoris Dimitriadis (who is also the Prime Minister’s nephew), submitted his resignation on the claim that the “toxic climate” that had been created around his person and his targeting made it impossible to carry out his duties. The reality is, that the Greek secret services come under his responsibility. His resignation was quickly followed by that of the commander of the National Intelligence Service, Panagiotis Kontoleon, “following wrong actions found in the process of legal connections,” as he stated in a government briefing. While Kontoleon claimed that a prosecutor had approved the wiretapping, the reason for it has not been revealed. Unnamed government sources have tried to spread the rumor that the wiretapping was carried out at the request of an “allied” intelligence service on alleged connections with “shady” Chinese individuals—an excuse which is not considered credible by the opposition.
Androulakis has called for a parliamentary committee to conduct a thorough investigation. Alexis Tsipras, who heads the main opposition party SYRIZA, also demanded a thorough investigation, calling the case “Mitsotakis’ Watergate.”
The fact that the first act by the Mitsotakis government, when it came to power in 2019, was to bring the National Intelligence Service under control of the Prime Minister’s office, has increased the heat on the government.