Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri and State Security Service Grigol Liluashvili have deflected responsibility over the supposed surveillance on the clergy, journalists, diplomats and others, detailed in the thousands of files leaked two weeks ago.
Grilled by reporters if he was questioned in the investigation into the leak, Security Service Head Liluashvili responded: “What do I have to do with it?” But, Liluashvili confirmed security service employees are being examined in the probe.
In his first comments since the files allegeldy leaked from his agency, Liluashvili noted if the investigators find it necessary “everyone will be questioned,” but warned that “no one will be bullied, especially security service employees.”
Rejecting calls for his resignation, the SSG head asserted “unfortunately we cannot follow the opposition’s wishes.”
“As a result of the probe, it will be found out what kind of provocation was being planned, the truth will out and everyone will get an appropriate response,” he asserted. The SSG head did not comment on the authenticity of the files.
The SSG Head asserted that no one in the world has “won a fight against” religious figures and the church yet, “and they will not win in Georgia either.”
Prime Minister Garibashvili today reiterated that legal surveillance is common for every country, with Georgia being no exception. “Yes, we are conducting the surveillance, but in accordance with the law,” PM Garibashvili stressed. He added that the probe has to determine the authenticity of the leaked files as well as whether they were obtained legally.
Arguing the records contained “lies” and were “not serious,” Garibashvili said the authorities have “no doubts” the records were falsified, “especially knowing the handwriting of [ex-President Mikheil] Saakashvili and the United National Movement.”
Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri urged journalists “not to be impatient” and wait for the results of the probe. Still pressed by reporters, the Interior Minister hurled questions back at them: “What responsibility?” “Did something happen?” “Did we do anything wrong?” “Was it [eavesdropping] illegal?”
This article was updated with remarks of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri.
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