Surveillance scandal in Greece should be thoroughly investigated before elections: European inquiry committee

The surveillance scandal in Greece that led to the resignations of senior officials earlier this year should be illuminated thoroughly, a European Parliament’s inquiry committee said Friday.

The legitimacy of elections would otherwise be called into question, Sophie in 't Veld, rapporteur of the PEGA committee investigating the role of Pegasus and other spyware companies in the scandal, said at a news conference in Athens.

“After four days in Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, during which we met opposition and government officials, human rights defenders and subjects of surveillance, among others, we leave more questions than we had when we arrived,” she said.

In 't Veld said there are reports of journalists feeling unsafe when they write about important topics and national security is used as a blanket justification for spyware abuse and surveillance.

Arguing that pieces of evidence that some in government circles got involved in the scandal, she said: “It seems that spyware companies form a murky web of connections that may also extend to public authorities, even though EU laws on beneficial ownership registries were designed to shed light on such information.”

“In the EU, we need clear rules for limiting the use of national security as grounds for surveillance, ensuring proper judicial oversight and guaranteeing a healthy, pluralist media environment," she said.

Surveillance scandal

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledged on Aug. 8 that Nikos Androulakis, the leader of PASOK, was wiretapped by the country's intelligence agency. But Mitsotakis denied knowledge of the operation.

The scandal unfolded Aug. 4 when Panagiotis Kontoleon, the head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), told a parliamentary committee that the agency had been spying on Thanasis Koukakis, a journalist.

The European Commission and European Parliament have been closely monitoring developments related to the scandal.

Source: Anadolu Agency