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Secret service chief to appear before MPs amid concerns over political wiretaps

Public order minister insists that MPs' phones are not being monitored

Decision to call National Intelligence Service (EYP) to appear before MPs follows a war of words between the government and Syriza over the agency's alleged surveillance of political parties

The headquarters of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) The headquarters of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) The head of the country's secret service has been invited to appear before a parliamentary committee, following claims and counter claims that it may have political parties under surveillance.

Theodoros Dravillas, director general of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) is expected to appear the committee on institutions and transparency the week after next. The decision to call Dravillas before MPs follows a war of words between the government and main opposition Syriza over the alleged surveillance by EYP of political parties.

It follows reports in a Sunday newspaper that Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras allegedly told his party MPs that his phone was being tapped. Although leading Syriza MPs denied the newspaper's claim, the public order minister, Nikos Dendias, demanded that Tsipras either deny what he described as "an outrageous claim against a well-governed state" or file a criminal complaint.

Syriza subsequently requested the minister to state unequivocally that the phones of MPs were not being monitored, an assurance that Dendias offered on Wednesday.

Theodoros Dravillas, director general of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) Theodoros Dravillas, director general of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) "It's clear that there is no issue of EYP monitoring political parties and wire tapping [its members]," a statement from his ministry said.

But it added that "there have been waivers of confidentiality and investigations by the counterterrorism agency into the illegal activities Golden Dawn members, following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas".

Some concerns have been raised about EYP's work when it emerged that it had been monitoring the communications of a number of Golden Dawn officials for months before the hip-hop artist's murder, which sparked a government crackdown on the party.

A New Democracy MP and former minister, Aris Spiliotopoulos, has tabled a parliamentary question seeking to know when EYP's wiretapping of Golden Dawn MPs began and whether it a prosecutor had authorised them. He also wishes to know how EYP ensured that only the criminal, and not the political, activities of the party were monitored, given that confidential EYP reports were leaked to the press last week that contained, among others, information relating to the sexual preferences of one of the indicted Golden Dawn MPs.

The government insists that an investigation was already underway into the party's activities months before the murder.

We "were being faced with an attempt to overthrow the existing system of government and this couldn't be documented based on a single action. The investigation was underway and Fyssas' murder was the catalyst that accelerated procedures,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told Skai TV on Wednesday.

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Politics
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Theodoros Dravillas
Nikos Dendias
National Intelligence Service (EYP)
Alexis Tsipras
Golden Dawn