Hellvig: SRI is aloof from any power game. I expect the exercise of civilian oversight not to become a political instrument

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Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Director Eduard Hellvig stated on Thursday that the SRI is today aloof from any power game, adding that he expects, to an equal extent, that the exercise of civilian oversight would not become an instrument with political or media stakes.

“The SRI is, today, aloof from any power game. It was an effort exerted over many years, however, I expect those outside the Service to be responsible too and to avoid drawing the Service into such constructs. The civilian oversight over the SRI is exercised by Parliament’s special committee, and I, as Director, have permanently expressed complete openness for the assurance of real and permanent oversight. To an equal extent, I expect this oversight not to become an instrument with political or media stakes. It is mandatory for the Service and society to benefit from a clear, complete, up-to-date and modern legislative framework,” Hellvig stated in a speech delivered at the West University of Timisoara.

He added that the SRI was the first to point out to the need to update the normative framework.

“I have publicly, repeatedly asked for Parliament’s support in adopting the new package of national security laws in order to clarify the limits of our prerogatives and to bring them up to date. I am a democrat in essence, reason for which I have always rejected abuses and excesses. I believe in rules, I believe in democracy and I believe each one of us can be efficient if we do our duty professionally, in the role allotted to each of us, with tenacity and especially with balance,” the SRI Director said.

Hellvig pointed out the need to have informed interlocutors within the institutions that benefit from the intelligence provided by the SRI.

“No intelligence service can fight and defend itself on its own. To an equal extent, we need informed interlocutors within the institutions that benefit from intelligence provided by the Service. Otherwise, expressions such as the promotion of national interest, inter-institutional cooperation, integrated approach, responsibility, unfortunately represent only sterile rhetoric,” he explained.

According to the SRI Director, Romania can resist on the one hand if it defends its democracy and, at the same time, if it consolidates itself as a state.

“And a consolidated state means strong institutions, balanced, viable and honest rapports between them. (…) People fare better in democracies, free markets, in well-anchored worlds in which they can be free and dignified. However, these societies are currently affected by new threats and pressures that must be understood, known and especially managed. We can only make progress via democracy and via the models of open societies capable of supporting strong institutions. We can only progress by carrying out our activity outside any interferences and encroachments. We are loyal to the people and the security interests of the Romanian state, of the country’s citizens, of Romania’s partners and allies,” Eduard Hellvig emphasised.

 

“SRI has ended any link with ill-fated pre-1989 past”

 

In his speech, Hellvig also emphasised that the SRI has ended any link with “the ill-fated pre-1989 past.” He added that SRI will continue its collaboration with the CNSAS [National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives], and in the following period it will hand over new documents meant to clarify important aspects in cases such as the one concerning dissident Gheorghe Ursu or the 1987 revolt in Brasov.

“Despite the numerous statements deliberately spread, I can state with full responsibility that the SRI has ended any link with the ill-fated pre-1989 past and that its entire activity is governed by principles and values that we respect in any circumstances; the law and the citizen’s security are maybe the most important among them,” Eduard Hellvig stated at the inauguration of the “Global Security Studies” M.A. programme at the West University of Timisoara, Agerpres informs.

The SRI Director referred to the recent public discussions about the case of dissident engineer Gheorghe Ursu.

“Thirty-two years have passed since then; thirty years have passed since the Brasov 1987 events. And I agree that light must be finally shed upon these cases. I will do everything in my power for this. I announce you, in a first, that within specialised internal structures we have finalised the procedures to hand over to the CNSAS certain documents that could not be handed over until now, in line with the law, and which I hope will clarify important aspects connected to the controversial past. In fact, in line with the law, the SRI has handed over to the CNSAS all Council dossiers concerning cadres whom courts ruled to have been Securitate workers,” Hellvig said.

The SRI Director announced that in the following period there will be a reassessment of all dossiers that are still present in the Service’s central archives, in order to identify the documents that can be handed over.

“Your generation has the right to know and understand the past in order to build the future together,” Hellvig added.