Viewing cable 06ATHENS900
Title: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR CODEL HASTERT (APR 8-9)

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06ATHENS9002006-04-04 11:33:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Athens
VZCZCXRO1558
PP RUEHCI
DE RUEHTH #0900/01 0941133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041133Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5000
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 0014
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 0006
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0136
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA PRIORITY 0001
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ATHENS 000900 
 
SIPDIS 
 
CODEL 
SIPDIS 
 
H FOR PETROSINO AND CARTER 
H PLEASE PASS TO CODEL HASTERT 
EUR/SE, SA/INS, EAP/BCLTV 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN GR IN NP VM
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR CODEL HASTERT (APR 8-9) 
 
REF: STATE 49265 
 
 ¶1.  Embassy Athens warmly welcomes and grants country 
clearance for Representative J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of 
the House of Representatives, and accompanying members of his 
delegation.  The Control Officer for the April 8-9 visit is 
Karen Grissette.  She can be reached during office hours 
through April 6 at 30-210-720-2551.  She departs for Iraklion 
the evening of April 6 and can be reached on her cellular at 
30-693-249-5019 or at the hotel GDM Megaron at 
30-281-030-5400.  Ms. Grissette's fax number until April 6 is 
30-210-729-4307 and her unclassified e-mail addresses are 
(office) GrissetteKE@state.gov and KGrissette@aol.com. 
Please send all e-mail to both e-mail addresses. 
Additionally, Ms. Grissette can be reached via the Embassy's 
after hours duty receptionist at 30-210-729-4444. 
 
¶2.  Reservations have been made at the GDM Megaron Hotel, 9 
¶D. Beaufort, Iraklion 71202, Crete, Greece.  The hotel phone 
number is 30-281-030-5300; fax 30-281-030-5400; website 
www.gdmmegaron.gr.  We understand CODEL's fiscal data cable 
will authorize actual room rates and embassy will pay for 
rooms out of fiscal data.  Room rates will be charged in 
euros, and these rates are inclusive of taxes and breakfast. 
M&IE, plus any additional allowance, will be provided in 
Euros to each traveler authorized per diem.  Travelers are 
expected to pay their own hotel incidental expenses prior to 
departing.  If a room reserved will not be used, the 
reservation must be canceled 24 hours prior to expected 
arrival date, otherwise the CODEL or traveler will be 
responsible for the cost of the unused room. 
 
¶3.  The official schedule for Iraklion will begin on 
Saturday, April 8.  The schedule will include a country 
briefing by DCM Thomas Countryman and Captain Sale, NSA Souda 
Bay, as well as cultural activities. 
 
¶4.  It is important that all visitors carefully read the 
information and instructions provided below.  Post wants to 
ensure the best possible service to all official visitors and 
will work closely to arrange details of each visit. 
 
¶5.  Transportation is being arranged as requested and as per 
e-mail correspondence from the control officer. 
 
¶6.  Documents required:  Diplomatic and official passport 
holders must have Greek diplomatic visas, a valid Schengen 
visa or diplomatic ID from any other Schengen country, in 
addition to their passport, in order to enter Greece.  The 
Embassy will be unable to obtain plane-side visas for USG 
employees arriving in Greece without proper documentation. 
Holders of tourist passports do not/not require visas.  USG 
employees who plan to operate a motor vehicle while in Greece 
must be in possession of a valid U.S. drivers license as well 
as a valid International Drivers License and must carry proof 
of third party liability insurance while operating the 
vehicle. 
 
¶7.  Embassy DSS agents will provide information to the CODEL 
doctor and accompanying Special Agent on medical facilities 
in Iraklion.  We strongly recommend that TDYers bring with 
them proof of current medical insurance coverage and medevac 
coverage if obtained. 
 
¶8.  Each visitor requiring support from the embassy, 
regardless of length of stay, must bring/forward fiscal data 
to pay for direct costs of the visit.  Each military TDYer 
requesting embassy support should be able to provide the 
sponsoring military entity at post fiscal data, even if 
staying at post less than thirty days.  Each agency, 
organization or visiting delegation will be charged for the 
actual costs attributed to its visit.  Direct charge costs 
include, but are not limited to:  American and LES overtime 
(for such services as airport expediting, cashier 
accommodation exchange, control room staffing, 
representational event support and costs incurred by NSA 
Souda Bay), travel and per diem costs incurred by post 
personnel in support of visitor's field travel, rental of 
vehicles and other equipment, long distance telephone calls, 
office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle maintenance 
costs, departure tax and other airport fees.  Post will not 
provide service if fiscal data is not provided for the direct 
charges. 
 
¶9.  Currency:  Greece is a member of the European Monetary 
 
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Union, and the Euro is the currency of the country. 
Accommodation exchange and reverse accommodation will be 
provided as per e-mail correspondence with the control 
officer.  However, ATMs are readily available throughout the 
country; they will accept U.S. debit cards.  In addition, 
most banks and major hotels provide accommodation exchange 
services, and accommodation exchange is available 24 hours 
per day at the GDM Megaron. 
 
¶10.  Office space/laptops/mobile phones:  CODEL control room 
will have computer connectivity and accessibility as per 
CODEL request, and hotel GDM Megaron has wireless 
connectivity for a fee in rooms and free in public areas. 
For those employees planning on bringing laptops and modems 
to use in their hotels, please remember that this equipment 
can be used for processing unclassified (non-SBU) information 
only.  Current here is 220 volt, 50 cycles, and outlets are 
two-pronged.  Embassy will provide and pre-position 10 
transformers as requested.  Laptops are not permitted in 
controlled access areas of the Embassy.  European GSM mobile 
phones function normally in Greece. 
 
¶11.  Presidential Directive - Trafficking in Persons:  All 
TDY personnel are reminded that President Bush has signed a 
National Security Presidential Directive to advance the fight 
against trafficking in persons.  The United States is 
committed to eradicate trafficking both domestically and 
abroad. Trafficking in persons exists in Greece.  A 
significant number of the people involved in prostitution, 
pornography and the sex tourism phenomenon, are trafficked. 
They are compelled by force, fraud and coercion to submit to 
sexual exploitation.  TDY personnel are advised that any 
involvement with the commercial sex industry is unacceptable 
in light of the diplomatic and foreign policy goals of the 
United States and the ethical standards of the Department of 
State and this Mission. Embassy Management will not tolerate 
any such involvement by Mission personnel and, in this 
regard, will enforce all relevant regulations regarding 
conduct and suitability of U.S. Government employees 
stationed abroad. 
 
¶12.  Security information: 
 
¶A.  Embassy Athens is designated "high" for indigenous 
terrorism.  In the past, local Greek terrorist groups have 
targeted prominent Greeks as well as certain non-Greek 
Officials, including Americans.  We believe that the threat 
to official US Government personnel on short-term assignments 
to Greece or visiting for tourism is relatively low.  The 
indigenous groups historically have engaged in extensive 
operational surveillance over long periods of time.  In 2003 
and again in 2004, the Greek Government made significant 
progress to combat domestic terrorism by successfully 
convicting the leader and key hit men of the November 17 
terrorist organization and of the ELA.  17N was responsible 
for assassinating prominent Greeks and five members of the US 
Mission over the course of its 30-year history.  Convicted 
ELA members were responsible for several bombings, attempted 
murders and were involved in at least one assassination. 
While these convictions likely impacted on the operational 
capabilities of 17N and ELA, it is too soon to assess whether 
the threat from domestic terrorism is completely eliminated. 
There have been several attacks against Greek police over the 
past 2 years.  We urge vigilance and caution, as the 
worldwide threat from other terrorist groups against 
Americans in general remains high.  Official Americans should 
assume they are potential targets. 
 
¶B.  Over the past year, the U.S. Embassy has experienced 
numerous bomb threats, protest marches, and anti-U.S. 
demonstrations.  These protests are generally peaceful though 
a few provoked random acts of violence.  Travelers to Greece 
are advised that protests or demonstrations could occur at 
any time; unwitting observers or bystanders might be 
identified, to their disadvantage, as Americans. 
 
¶C.  Crime is rated "medium" in Greece.  For TDY visitors, 
pick-pocketing and purse snatching are the most common 
crimes.  Taxis are generally safe though metered cabs are 
recommended.  Taxis too will often pick up more than one 
passenger unless prior arrangements are made.  Crimes of 
opportunity (thefts, break-ins, and occasional scams) are on 
the rise.  Travelers should be especially cautious with 
wallets, purses, and parcels when traveling on crowded 
streets, public buses, trolleys, and/or subways.  There have 
 
ATHENS 00000900  003 OF 003 
 
 
been several instances of motorcyclists approaching cars 
stuck in traffic, reaching through open windows or smashing 
closed ones, and stealing whatever is within reach.  We have 
also recently learned of a new method in which motorcyclists 
open the trunk of a vehicle and remove the contents.  The 
Embassy recommends keeping purses, parcels, handbags, etc. 
out of sight under the seat or on the floor of the car. 
Windows should be kept closed and doors locked.  Pedestrians 
may also be confronted by beggars and other street people who 
may attempt to divert attention, then steal unprotected 
valuables ) either by pick-pocketing or snatch-and-grab 
techniques.  Women are generally safe from violent crime in 
Greece.  Men are aggressive by American standards however 
when pursuing women. 
 
¶D.  Traffic in Greek urban areas, especially Athens and 
Thessaloniki, is chaotic.  Greece leads the European Union in 
traffic fatalities.  Road rage is common.  Accidents often 
lead to fist fights.  Drivers in Greece should exercise 
caution and common sense.  Drivers and pedestrians alike 
should exercise extreme caution when operating motor vehicles 
or when walking along roadways.  Moreover, tourists who rent 
motorbikes either on the Greek mainland or its islands must 
wear helmets and must take special precautions on the local 
roads that are typically poorly maintained and frequently 
pothole-ridden.  Greece also leads the European Union in 
motorcycle deaths. 
Ries