Greece’s secret service illegally tapped phone of leader of social democratic PASOK party

Greece’s New Democracy government has been in crisis since early August after it was revealed that the National Intelligence Agency (EYP) had hacked the phone of Nikos Androulakis, leader of the social democratic PASOK.

Nikos Androulakis [Photo by Basilispanagou / CC BY-SA 4.0]

The chain of events leading to the revelations began when Androulakis, a member of the European Parliament since 2014, submitted his phone to the European Parliament’s cybersecurity department for review on June 28. This revealed that in September 2021, an attempt was made to infect his phone with the Predator spyware.

On July 26, Androulakis filed a complaint with the Greek Supreme Court, which resulted in the Hellenic Communications Security and Privacy Authority (ADAE) requesting data from Androulakis’ telephone provider to conduct its own investigation. Predator spyware leaves no easily identifiable traces, but Androulakis’ phone records showed he was under surveillance by the Hellenic National Intelligence Agency (EYP) using conventional eavesdropping techniques.

A court order for wiretapping was reportedly given in September 2021 on “national security” grounds during the same period that an attempt was made to infect his Predator phone. At the time, Androulakis was a candidate in the PASOK leadership election and the surveillance reportedly ended shortly after he was elected party leader in December 2021.

The revelations led to the August 5 resignations of EYP chief Dimitris Kontoleon and chief of staff and Prime Minister’s nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis. In a televised address three days later, Mitsotakis accused the EYP of mismanaging the case, which led to the “immediate removal of the head of the EYP” while his chief of staff assumed “objective political responsibility” by also resigning. Excused, Mitsotakis denied that he was aware of the hacking of Androulakis’ phone.

This requirement cannot be accepted. One of the first steps taken by Mitsotakis after coming to power in July 2019 was to transfer EYP to the Prime Minister’s Office. EYP was formerly part of the Ministry of Civil Protection. It is incredible that Mitsotakis did not know that the well-known politician, who shortly thereafter became the leader of Greece’s third largest party, was being followed.

Government sources cited by conservative newspaper cathimerini and according to the news report about Alpha TV claimed that the wiretapping was carried out at the direct request of the special services of Ukraine and Armenia, since Androulakis is a member of the European Parliament committee that deals with trade relations between the EU and China. According to Alpha TV report “two countries expressed concern that Russia [a key ally of China] prepared for war and what [by bugging Androulakis] they might know something about it.”

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