Claims of dirty tricks carried out by the Portuguese intelligence service in the general-election campaign have prompted an unprecedented denial from the country’s spymasters.
In August, the newspaper Publico alleged that President Cavaco Silva – from the opposition Social Democrats – feared he was under surveillance from the secret service, which is controlled by the socialist Prime Minister. Now, the rival paper Diario de Noticias has claimed Publico was told to print the story by an aide from within the Presidential palace itself. The President has refused to be drawn into a party-political battle during the election campaign, but said he would try to find out more on security issues after the vote on September the 27th. Publico hit back, saying their rival’s story proves that even journalists are being spied upon. The Prime Minister Jose Socrates said: “The director of Público has always had great imagination, I have said that before. Now he is accusing the secret services. But the secret services don’t do any thing outside the law. At least as far as I know.” All the opinion polls point to a very tight election next week, with neither the socialists nor the social democrats predicted to win an outright majority.