The case concerning the phone hacking and monitoring of at least four journalists in Slovakia by the VOS intelligence unit of the Ministry of Defence has blown up in the face of defence minister Lubomir Galko, with criminal complaints starting to fly in from those who had their rights infringed.
The most aggrieved is head of TV news channel TA3, Michal Gucik, who has allegedly been monitored by the police since February this year, with exposure of all his personal data, including his home alarm code, bank accounts, personal SMS and phone calls, among other things. His movements were also shadowed, with reports on who he was meeting, where and when.
Gucik has therefore decided to file a criminal complaint against VOS and even undergo a lie detector test to prove his innocence. According to news portal topky.sk, the VOS unit of the Ministry of Defence got authorisation from the court in Trencin in February 2011 for the police to start monitoring the activities of Gucik’s advertising agency Enter AD over suspicions of financial criminality.
Gucik rejects vehemently any dealings with the Ministry of Defence and so is willing to go through any interrogation or lie detector test to prove it. He is not sure whether his phone is registered to his company Enter AD, but in his opinion he has been tapped because he is head of the news channel TA3.
Other journalists from the daily Pravda were also targeted, and so they or their newspaper may also file criminal complaints. One of the tapped conversations was between Vanda Vavrova (Pravda) and head of the special investigation unit at the Attorney General’s Office, Peter Sufliarky.
Sufliarsky will also be filing a criminal complaint because the journalists who were being monitored were in constant contact with many people from the judicial system, politics, the police and other public officials.
Today Galko had to explain the case to the Special Oversight Committee for Military Intelligence, saying afterwards that the results of the ongoing investigation might prove surprising, adding that nobody was above the law, “not a minister, a politician, entrepreneur, a common person, and not journalists either”.
Galko is now taking a grilling from the Parliamentary Defence and Security Committee, which is getting heated but the session has been adjourned with journalists asked to leave.
Earlier Galko had said that the recent leaks of information are part of a smear campaign against him and that everything was conducted in line with the law. He has promised that if any phone tapping had taken place without the authorisation of a court judge then he would resign. Others are calling for him to stand down anyway, while expecting the PM and the President to recall him if he doesn’t do so himself.