By Spiros Sideris – Athens
Theodoros Pangalos revealed on radio station Vima FM yesterday that the Greek government was spying on former US Ambassador to Athens.
Mr. Pangalos said that during his time as Foreign Minister, intelligence work was carried out and the US Ambassadors in Athens and Ankara were both targets; however, he didn’t specify the exact time he was referring to.
“I will tell you – and it may seem odd to you – that the Greek Intelligence Agency had managed not only to spy on the US Ambassador to Athens but also the US Ambassador in Ankara. Every time I went to office with my coffee and bagel, I had a pile of documents waiting for me with anything that will interest me, not everything. This was when I was a minister…” Mr. Pangalos characteristically stated when asked to comment on revelations that the NSA did spy work in Athens.
He did stress, however, that more than 20 years have gone by and “everything is now under the statute of limitations”. He also said that the bugging stopped because “the Americans found out”.
Kedikoglou: Spy-talk undermines work of National Intelligence Agency
Commenting on what Theodors Pangalos revealed, Greek government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said talk of spying on the US Ambassador to Athens undermines the work of the National Intelligence Agency (EYP).
In an announcement, Mr. Kedikoglou says: “EYP fulfills its mission within the framework set by the Constitution and the law with respect to our friends and allies. Besides, it is well known that EYP has been in cooperation with intelligence agencies of the US and other countries in the war against terrorism. Any further analysis on the mission of EYP can only undermine its work and is deemed redundant”.
Main opposition SYRIZA commented on Pangalos’s revelations that his statements “confirm the validity of the concerns SYRIZA had over the protection of the secrecy of telecommunications as well as the mechanisms that act uncontrollably without any democratic legitimacy.”
“Perhaps the …“experienced” Mr. Pangalos tried to undermine and eventually cover up the revelations made by Spiegel magazine on the NSA document that says the US Embassy in Athens was a wiretapping center through which telecommunications were intercepted,” SYRIZA adds in its announcement.
In turn, opposition party “Independent Greeks” asks whether “the action of Mr. Pangalos to reveal secret activities of the Greek government is a criminal act or not at the expense of the country” while adding that “those who attempt to harm the country using the former minister as a megaphone must be sought out”.
The statement made by Pangalos caused uproar not only in Greece, but abroad too. Reports in the US press are indicative of the climate after the former minister’s statement.
The New York Times report Europe’s involvement in the “spy games” was confirmed following the statement made by former Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on the radio who acknowledged that the Greek secret service tapped phone calls of US Ambassadors in Greece and Turkey in the 90’s.
The New York Times also notes that European leaders are looking for ways to delay the adoption of relevant legislation protecting the private lives of European citizens, despite denouncing the interception of telephone conversation conducted by the US.