Titus Stahl

A death in Athens - great article over a rogue NSA operation in Greece

A chilling article at The Intercept:

On March 9, 2005, Costas’ brother, Panagiotis, dropped by the apartment. He thought he’d have a coffee before a business meeting scheduled for that morning. But as he entered the building, he found his mother, Georgia, running up and down the corridor yelling for help.

“Cut him down!” she was saying. “Cut him down!”

Panagiotis had no idea what she was talking about until he went inside his brother’s apartment and saw Costas hanging from a rope tied to pipes above the lintel of his bathroom door, an old wooden chair nearby. He and his mother cut the rope and laid Costas down on the bed.

The day before his death, Costas’ boss at Vodafone had ordered that a newly discovered code — a powerful and sophisticated bug — be deactivated and removed from its systems. The wiretap, placed by persons unknown, targeted more than 100 top officials, including then Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and his wife, Natassa; the mayor of Athens; members of the Ministerial Cabinet; as well as journalists, capturing not only the country’s highest secrets, but also its most intimate conversations. The question was, who did it?


I also put the question to Gen. Michael Hayden, the NSA director at the time. “Do you remember the incident that came up involving Greece?” I asked. “Not anything we’re going to talk about here,” he said. “Did that come to your attention?” I pressed. “Not something I can talk about,” he replied.