There was an attempt to delete all data from the Military Defence Intelligence (VOS) wiretapping system in October, opposition Smer MP and parliamentary defence committee member Robert Kaliňák said on Tuesday, December 20, as reported by the TASR newswire. Wiretapping of journalists by the VOS was the subject of a scandal late last month which cost the defence minister his job.
"On the day when the president [Ivan Gašparovič] announced that he would dismiss the government, a quite serious intervention into the wiretapping system happened," said Kaliňák, who had taken part in an MPs' inspection at the VOS earlier in the day. "As well as shutting down all surveillance of journalists, an order to delete the entire wiretapping system was also given. It was only a lucky break that a back-up system created a copy, which they failed to delete." Kaliňák – who was himself recorded in conversation with a journalist and is thus involved in the scandal, said it was confirmed that a VOS request, addressed to a judge, requesting authorisation for a wiretap was duplicated in order to get multiple warrants. "This alone is enough to launch a criminal prosecution," claimed Kaliňák.
The SITA newswire specified that the attempt to erase the wiretapping records took place on October 14, three days after the government of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová lost a vote of confidence in parliament. The date was the same day that Gašparovič announced he would dismiss the government.
Police have already launched an investigation into the misuse of wiretapping by the VOS, Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP and head of the parliamentary defence and security committee Martin Fedor said after the MPs’ inspection. Fedor declined to be more specific due to the confidentiality issues surrounding the investigation, TASR wrote.
The eavesdropping scandal at the VOS broke in November and transcripts of several recordings involving a Pravda daily reporter and Kaliňák were leaked soon after. Radičová promptly sacked defence minister Ľubomír Galko and assumed his post, even though the latter claimed that the wiretapping was aimed at revealing who had been leaking confidential information from the ministry to Pravda. Transcripts of the conversations also suggested that Kaliňák had attempted to influence the content of articles published by Pravda.
Sources: TASR, SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
21. Dec 2011 at 14:00