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Security Service releases files of the Őszöd leak investigation

February 24th, 2014

Left-wing commentators do not find the released documents convincing and suspect that they might serve electoral purposes. Nevertheless, the leading left-wing daily calls on Ferenc Gyurcsány to reveal what he knows about the matter if he wants to clear his name.

The Őszöd speech, containing explosive passages which sparked riots in Budapest and undermined PM Gyurcsány’s credibility, was leaked to radio stations on 17 September 2006. The speech was originally delivered at a closed meeting of Socialist MPs, a few weeks after their May 2006 election victory. Gyurcsány has occasionally hinted that some members of his own party were responsible for the leak, and confirmed in a TV interview last Saturday (15 February) that he was fairly convinced of the involvement of “two men and one woman” whom he declined to name. He also hinted, nonetheless, that the three were his adversaries within the Socialist Party. Two years ago a previously unknown man came forward with a story according to which prominent Socialist leaders handed over the recording to an extreme rightist “freedom fighter” who also had Socialist ties from his earlier left-wing militancy. He was supposed to pass it on to his right wing contacts. The man, Eduardo Rózsa-Flores was later killed in his native Bolivia where he allegedly became involved in a failed coup against the Bolivian government. BudaPost has covered the Őszöd scandal and its political significance and ramifications in several posts throughout 2012 and 2013.

In Népszava, editor Péter Németh feels that the story, intended to damage the MSZP before the elections, may backfire. He remarks that although scores of names have been blacked out from the document, it is clear from them that after the leak occurred, it was at an unspecified Fidesz office that the recording was copied to several CDs which were then dispatched to various news outlets. Németh hopes the public might find it morally reprehensible of Fidesz to divulge the secrets of another party in 2006, without openly standing behind its own story.

In 444 a strongly anti-government liberal portal, Zsolt Kerner sums up the content of the files, pointing out that in one document the Security Services were not able to identify the person who initiated the leak, while in the second, quoting Rózsa-Flores, they claim it was the work of Gyurcsány and the Socialists who wanted to deflect public attention from their restrictive financial package. The journalist – along with most of the left-liberal press – also makes fun of the authors of the report, who while calling Rózsa-Flores by a code name (’Guevara’), also mention that their ’Guevara’ was killed in Bolivia – details that positively identify Rózsa-Flores. Finally, the journalist asks why the two reports should have been released less than seven weeks before the general elections, considering that the investigation was conducted in 2008 and 2009.

Népszabadság’s Saturday editorial also expresses some doubt as to the reliability of a story “with a long chain of actors and intermediaries whose names are all blacked out”. If it was indeed Gyurcsány who leaked his own speech, leading to his downfall and a “historic reshaping of Hungary”, that was a rather stupid thing to do, they muse. But while the Security Services have “handed a nice present to the government” by releasing the files more than four years after the investigation was closed, the only person who knows how much of it is true is Ferenc Gyurcsány – and he must finally come out with his own story. (In a statement following the publication of the editorial, Gyurcsány claimed that the file is an intentionally distorted and edited version of the report. He failed however to elaborate on what actually happened back in 2006.)

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