Turkish intelligence agency MIT got away with illegal wiretapping of prominent journalist

Abdullah Bozkurt

 

A panel of judges acquitted Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) of falsifying documents in order to illegally wiretap the telephone of Turkish journalist, academic and author Mehmet Hasan Altan.

According to documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, the intelligence agency falsified the legal briefs submitted to the court to secure authorization for the wiretapping of Altan’s two mobile phones on October 30, 2008. In its brief MIT claimed that it wanted to identify an international espionage network and terrorist activities and listed Altan as a suspect under the fake code name “pastor.” The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court judge approved the request without knowing that the suspect mentioned by MIT was actually a prominent journalist.

MIT requested an extension of the wiretap on February 9, 2009 from a judge at the the 11th High Criminal Court and a second extension on May 8, 2009 from the 14th High Criminal Court. Both requests were approved. MIT filed a fresh request for the journalist’s phone on November 4, 2009 instead of requesting another three-month extension but changed the fake name it attributed to Altan to “Qunramaddin Fatimi.” As the court requires more detailed explanations for extensions in wiretapping cases, MIT changed the name but added similar claims to justify the surveillance.

In its defense MIT claimed that Altan was not targeted in the investigation but that the agency wanted to collect intelligence on an espionage network that was connected to his phone and learn more about contacts that may have pursued illegal intelligence activities in Turkey. READ MORE

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