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Risk of terrorism to grow following N. Africa instability

President Traian Basescu stated yesterday at the SRI’s 2010 review meeting that he has asked the Service to take measures so that ‘the possibly heightening risk of terrorism won’t catch us unprepared.’

President Traian Basescu warned that the risk of terrorism could grow as a consequence of the intervention in Libya, however without Romania being its main target. “There is the risk of having a period of instability in Northern Africa as a consequence of the intervention, of having extremist Islamist groups drawn to terrorism as a consequence of the intervention in Libya, and all measures have to be timely taken so that the possibly heightening risk of terrorism won’t catch us unprepared,” he warned the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) officers yesterday, on the occasion of the institution’s balance sheet for last year.


On the other hand, the Head of State underlined that 2010 was the year in which the SRI reported its best performances and doing so was possible because it could not be influenced by appointments of politicians. “Mr. Maior (head of the SRI – editor’s note) can confirm that I never asked him to appoint an officer in this or that County, least of all to appoint a section chief or a man within the Service’s leadership,” the President said. On this occasion, he thanked George Maior for resisting any kind of attempt to influence the appointments from outside the institution.


On the other hand, the Head of State underlined that reforming and restructuring SRI is not a process that would put an end to modernization, pointing out in this sense that the Service has to gain “that necessary quality of continuously adapting to operative realities.”


From this point of view, preparing SRI’s new strategy in the information age is “an extremely important pillar that will allow SRI to continuously adapt to the Romanian realities and needs.”


At the same time the President explained that adapting to the information age should not mean ignoring SRI’s human intelligence capability.


In what concerns the institution’s priorities for this year, Traian Basescu stated that they did not suffer consistent changes compared to what they were in 2010 and he mainly referred to combating risks associated with corruption and tax evasion.


According to the Head of State, energy security and possible vulnerabilities in ensuring the needed amount of energy for the national economy and the population continues to be a priority. Also among the priorities Basescu listed identifying dysfunctions in the state apparatus at local and central level, SRI’s involvement in dismantling organized crime groups at local level, food security and nuclear security, as well as health system security.


On Tuesday evening the Head of State signed the decrees that give the one-star brigadier general rank to six SRI officers, two of which are in reserve and one about to retire. The decrees concern Colonels Dan-Valentin Capsuna, Florea Ciobanu, Gabriel Statescu, Nelu Anghel, Adrian Stoica and Marin Agache.


MAIOR: IN 2011 SRI WILL FOCUS ON PREVENTING TERRORISM


SRI chief George Maior claims that in 2011 Romania will face both internal risks and vulnerabilities, generated among other things by corruption, and international risks ranging from espionage to energy insecurity. He pointed out that priority will be given to preventing terrorism, considering that instability in the Middle East and Northern Africa may have, in the institution’s opinion, “certain effects on national security.”


On the other hand, Maior admits that 2010 was the year of operational performance for SRI: “Basically we started to reap the benefits of reforms implemented in previous years – structural changes, improved analysis, reorganizing the manner of working with classified sources. 2010 marks maybe SRI’s most important operational successes in the last decade.”


According to the SRI chief, the Service brought important contributions to combating tax evasion, smuggling and organized crime, it prevented and countered activities of some radical groups and reported relevant achievements in counter-espionage.


IRES POLL: ROMANIANS SHOW GREAT CONFIDENCE IN SRI


A poll conducted by the Romanian Institute for Eva­luation and Strategy (IRES) and quoted by Realitatea TV shows that BNR tops the Romanians’ confidence table with 59 per cent, followed by SRI (37 per cent), the Romanian Police (33 per cent), the National Anti-Corruption Office (27 per cent), the Justice system (23 per cent), trade unions (19 per cent) and the Presidency (15 per cent). According to the poll, the Parliament and the Government are the institutions that garner the lowest levels of confidence, 10 and 8 per cent respectively.

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