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Smer-led government also bugged Pravda reporter

According to a report in the Sme daily on November 24, former defence minister Jaroslav Baška admitted on Wednesday, November 23, that the previous government, led by his own Smer party, also monitored journalist Patrícia Poprocká (nee Ďurišková). Poprocká recently led the domestic news desk of the Pravda daily and was one three journalists who were revealed this week to have been bugged this year by the Military Defence Intelligence (i.e. military counterintelligence service), or VOS.

According to a report in the Sme daily on November 24, former defence minister Jaroslav Baška admitted on Wednesday, November 23, that the previous government, led by his own Smer party, also monitored journalist Patrícia Poprocká (nee Ďurišková). Poprocká recently led the domestic news desk of the Pravda daily and was one three journalists who were revealed this week to have been bugged this year by the Military Defence Intelligence (i.e. military counterintelligence service), or VOS.

Poprocká’s phone was wiretapped in 2007 for the same reason given for her more recent monitoring: the VOS wanted to find who had leaked sensitive information. Poprocká, who was an editor of the Žurnál weekly at that time, wrote a story about how classified documents were being leaked from the VOS. Earlier this week, Baška said that a document released which purported to be a request made to a court to allow five VOS wiretaps was nonsense. However, on Wednesday he issued another statement confirming that the bugging had in fact taken place. Baška did not say why he had changed his mind.

Poprocká was wiretapped when František Kašický (also a Smer nominee) was the Defence Minister and Baška was his deputy, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote. In his written statement Baška denied any parallels with the bugging initiated by Ľubomír Galko (Freedom and Solidarity (SaS)), who was fired this week as defence minister. They allegedly deployed agents to monitor Poprocká because the security of the state was endangered, Baška argued.

After the recent scandal came to light, Smer leader Robert Fico criticised Galko for having eavesdropped on journalists. "It is an attack against fundaments of the state, against democracy," he stated on Monday.

Sources: Sme, Hospodárske Noviny

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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