I’ve written recently about the “Kořistka affair,” in which an MP in the ruling coalition alleges he was offered a bribe to switch sides, thereby bringing down the government led by the Social Democrats’ Stanislav Gross.

The story seems to have taken an ominous turn, as widespread government wiretapping has come to light. President Václav Klaus was even one of the politicians who were allegedly wiretapped, and not only because of the Kořistka affair.

As an opinion writer in MF Dnes recently pointed out, the number of wiretaps has grown threefold from 2001 to 2003, and many of those being listened to just happen to be in the political opposition.

No matter what you may think of the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) – and regular readers of this blog know of my own opinions regarding their kleptocratic tendencies – the use of politically-motivated wiretaps by the CSSD government is deeply disturbing. And as Interior Minister in the previous government and now as Prime Minister, Stanislav Gross has a lot of explaining to do.

With a one-vote majority in the parliament, it’s not exactly like the Social Democrats have a lot of good will they can play with.

Americans are always accused of making parallels to their own history and experience, so let me continue the tradition and draw this parallel: The Watergate scandal started out as an investigation into a single break-in in a Democratic Party office. But what brought down President Richard Nixon was a larger pattern of abuse of power that only later came to light.

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