Kiriakou told Sunday’s Kathimerini that he would differentiate the activity of urban guerrilla groups in Greece today and the actions of the November 17 terrorist organization.
“I would not describe recent attacks as terrorism; I would call them criminal,” he said. “A lot of people are suffering the consequences of the economic crisis and this creates fertile ground for the creation of organizations of the far left or far right.”
Kirakou worked with Greek authorities between 1998 and 2000 to help catch members of November 17, which he described as “the most disciplined terrorist organization in Europe.” “There were never any leaks and there were hardly ever any accidents,” he said, adding that the group’s murder of New Democracy MP Pavlos Bakoyannis in 1989 proved a turning point as it turned public opinion against the group.
Kiriakou also suggested that American authorities intentionally allowed rumors about the PASOK government being linked to November 17 to circulate in the 1980s. “In the 1980s, many Americans wanted a bad guy in Greece to blame for the bad relations between the two countries,” he said.
In 2007, Kiriakou became one of the first CIA officials to express concern about the agency’s methods, when he questioned the use of waterboarding. He told Kathimerini that he has fears about the course some of his colleagues at the agency are following. “It is as if they enjoy torturing, killing with drones and spying on American citizens,” he said. “These are very dangerous developments that we have to stop before we find ourselves living in a country with no civil rights and personal freedom.”