Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) confessed wiretapping of a journalist working for CNN Greece, local media reported on Thursday.
Citing Reuters, I Avgi, a daily newspaper published in Athens, said Panagiotis Kontoleon, the head of EYP, last week told the parliament's Institutions and Transparency Committee that his agency was spying on journalist Thanasis Koukakis.
The committee's closed-door hearing came after Nikos Androulakis, leader of the socialist opposition PASOK party, complained to top prosecutors about an attempt to hack his mobile phone with tracking software.
Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou asserted that Greek authorities do not use the spyware allegedly used in Koukakis' tapping, and do not do business with companies that sell it.
Victim of the tapping, Koukakis, told media he does not know how he poses a national security threat as a journalist covering economy policy and banking system.
The daily said Koukakis’s case came to light in April and the main opposition SYRIZA-PS party called on the examination of the allegations by a parliamentary committee.
Its request was rejected then, the report said, adding that only after Androulakis submitted his complaint to the prosecutors at the end of July, the plea by both SYRIZA-PS and PASOK-KINAL to convene the committee was accepted and a hearing followed.
According to the I Avgi report, SYRIZA-PS has formally asked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to shed light on both cases, which it says involve the use of Predator surveillance software, citing important issues for democracy and civil rights.
Meanwhile, Dimitris Papadimoulis, a senior lawmaker from SYRIZA-PS, maintained that the government is behaving suspiciously as if it is trying to hide a guilty secret.
“The issue has been highlighted widely in the European media, while at the same time it has been scandalously downgraded from the first moment, in the Greek pro-government media,” he said.
Similarly, the e-tetRadio news outlet drew attention that mainstream Greek media has been trying to downgrade the magnitude of the wiretapping scandal.
What is big news for Reuters, is not even worth mentioning for majority of the Greek media, it said, adding: “As if it is reasonable and acceptable in a democracy for the secret services to follow a journalist investigating scandals.”
The Efsyn news outlet argued that Mitsotakis, as political head of the EYP, has full political responsibility for the scandal.
He has to prove that the he didn’t turn the country into a “huge bug,” it said.