As a guest at the “Power Games” TV show produced by the station Realitatea TV, the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Services (SIE) Teodor Melescanu explained the reasons why he decided to run for the top position in the state.
“The only reason that led to my decision is that, unfortunately, neither of the potential candidates is suitable for being a President. I wish to be an alternative for Romania’s citizens. Beside the fact that we don’t have an American Ambassador, we are in a vulnerable space and the president must assure Romania’s security, which no longer depends on us. Now, our security depends of international security, and one must be a player”, the former head of SIE and former Foreign Affairs Minister declared.
“I am the most experienced and have the greatest expertise. It is a crucial moment! I think that it is extremely necessary that Romania would focus on its foreign politics.”
My age is one of my assets, as it means experience and expertise. At my age, I have no intention whatsoever to ruin the image of my career. I understand that this mandate would be essential to me and that it would define me; not the positions I had at SIE or in other institutions. This would be an achievement. I am a man who cannot allow himself to make mistakes. I have no issues with any other politician. I am a person who is able to make people around me work together, and not antagonize them. I am convinced that this candidacy may determine some people to come to vote! I support ordered Liberalism!” the former SIE manager mentioned while explaining his decision to run for Cotroceni.
My elections campaign will be different
Referring to his elections campaign, the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) stated on Realitatea TV that “it will be different on several accounts, but the essence will be that unlike the other candidates who gather people around by using grilled ground meat rolls, beer and concerts, I will go to the people to talk with them, to ask them to tell me what their problems are and to find solutions in order to solve their problems.”
“I have filed 450,000 signatures. Mr. Dogaru did not collect signatures for me. As labor union president he told everyone that there are two suitable candidates: Ioan Ghise and Teodor Melescanu. Ghise as an independent and I hadn’t made up my mind! Most of the signatures were collected by youths from the civil society and I thought I have to answer such a call. I considered that I have to take this responsibility,” Melescanu added.
“I took the decision to run on Saturday when a businessman told me there are signatures and asked me whether I want to take the responsibility. Signing such a table is a personal issue. I know there was a discussion that the tables were waved around, that I am collecting signatures. Not even I, nor any member of my family, have signed for myself. Mr. Ponta is Prime Minister and signatures were collected with him in office, similarly for Basescu five years ago. The President, the Prime Ministers and the Speakers of the Chambers of Parliament have more information than I do as head of SIE. There are many personalities in Romania that have information from many services, information we have no access to,” he concluded.
Melescanu on his relationship to Basescu: We’ve had a natural relationship
Enquired by the ‘Jocuri de putere’ TV show about his relationship to President Basescu, the former head of SIE said: ‘It’s been a natural relationship between the president of the country and the head of SIE in terms of making all information available to him. I appreciated that he has been preoccupied with two major projects, the consolidation of relations with the USA, which became a main pillar of Romania’s security which, also as a candidate for president, I deem to be important. And a second one, a stepping up of the fight against corruption, which has yielded quite unexpected results’. ‘In very many situations, President Basescu is a voluntary person, he has had a voluntarist attitude that exceeded his prerogative in relation to the premier and Parliament, including criticism which, as you say, led to blockages. That’s something that should be avoided!’, Melescanu also said.
Ponta is energetic, but he should let go of dual language
Asked to evaluate Victor Ponta’s strengths and shortcomings, Teodor Melescanu said, on Realitatea TV: ‘To be able to become the head of a party proves a performance that has to be recognised and respected. To become the head of a party, prime minister and candidate in ten years is a performance. He is energetic and his willing to move in the public area is visible. If he wants to stay in big politics he will have to let go of his dual language. One cannot say one thing today and another thing tomorrow’.
Iohannis has had an extraordinary rise
Melescanu said, on Realitatea TV, that Klaus Iohannis ‘has had an extraordinary rise’. ‘The big problem is his total lack or experience and expertise. It’s one thing to be a mayor and a totally different thing to be a president. It’s a major difference I don’t think he has resolved’, said the ex-SIE director.
Absence of US ambassador in Bucharest worries me
The independent candidate for president, Teodor Melescanu, formerly Foreign Minister and a diplomat with a vast experience in foreign policy, spoke about our partnership with the USA and the absence of an ambassador of the US in Bucharest.
‘An American ambassador who would land at the height of the election campaign would have major difficulties of understanding what’s happening here. We can think of any explanation. It’s an indicator that worries me! We are looking forward an American ambassador to Bucharest. Apart from any explanation, from the point of view of classification, we are on a too low level to receive an American ambassador’, said Melescanu.
He added that ‘our partnership with the USA does not depend on persons. When it looks at Romania, the US sees an important ally. However, if we want to be an important ally, we should tend to be a democratic and prosperous country.’
Covert agents create credibility issues to Services
Asked by the TV host if covert agents were a problem in the case of intelligence services, the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) answered: ‘Yes, because it’s a fundamental element. You may never expose the name of officers and, from that point on, trust is eroded’. ‘It’s something that hurts our credibility at least at the level of the Services, because one cannot expose a covert agent, that’s a criminal offence! Such a case raises huge questions marks!’
Referring to President Basescu’s statements on the subject, Melescanu said those had been political ones rather than based on evidence. ‘It’s a political thing, not a legal matter. Legally speaking, things are clear, at least to us’.
As for the hyper-publicised Robert Turcescu case, she says he thought to be a journalist with a great future and with genuine talent, Melescanu said he was surprised by how things developed: ‘The surprise was major when I saw that he was put in the impossibility of exposing himself. I can understand his torments. But, when you decide to do something and you take it on, you have to carry it out. My problem is not the exposure, but why he accepted to do that. No one pushes you to the wall. We have candidates who give up recruitment, other ones pull out also in the process. There are no major motivations, but just possible small bonuses that have not been yet abrogated. I don’t understand how he could have been recruited against his will. This job as an intelligence officer comes with many constraints.
‘When I saw Robert Turcescu on TV I could sense that he was extremely troubled, with major issues of conscience’, Teodor Melescanu said.
He was not asked to show the list of covert officers.
On the matter of the covert officers, Melescanu answered: ‘I said we have no covert officers. There have been several talks on the subject. When people were appointed to a position, people wanted to also know some clear things about the candidates with certain positions. If I had anything to say, I always gave a negative answer. My position at the Service was to respect the law, I never gave information on anything I was not supposed to under the law’, the ex-SIE chief stressed.
I am not a spy, I never was!
He reminded that the intelligence services used to have a better credibility among Romanians, according to the polls. ‘SIE has no covert officer in the Government, in the press. We have no covert officers in those state institutions. SIE is not engaged in politics. SIE collects intelligence which it makes available to the Government and other institutions. We don’t even choose our themes. We are evaluated by political decision-makers’, the ex-SIE director also noted.
Dragnea: “Let us see for whom he did it”
Vice-Premier Liviu Dragnea declared on Tuesday that it would be of great interest to find out the main reason why Teodor Melescanu has quit the top position at the Foreign Intelligence Services (SIE) in order to attend the presidential elections. Dragnea said he did not believe in a decision “taken by night, at a cup of tea” and added: “Let us see for whom he did it”, Mediafax reports.
“Anything is possible in Romania, anybody may run for President, a top-positioned person as well. At least, he did the right thing by quitting before submitting his candidacy file. Mr. Ungureanu was walking all over town to gather his votes for the Parliament while still being the head of SIE. It seems that SIE guys are fond of politics”, Dragnea declared about Melescanu’s candidacy.
He added that another subject of interest and curiosity is represented by the reason, the main motivation why Melescanu gave up his position at SIE in order to “throw himself in an electoral struggle he obviously cannot win.”
“When you are not a mere pensioner, but the holder of an important position, resigning means that you have strong motivation or a demand you cannot say no to. There are plenty of us asking the same question”, Dragnea added.
He also pointed out that it was very important to find out the real reason that determined this candidacy. “I don’t believe it was a decision taken by night, at a cup of tea, that somebody simply decided to run for President. It seems to be a far more complicated matter and we must see for whom he did it”, Dragnea declared.
Adrian Nastase: candidacy should be taken very seriously
Former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase on Tuesday stated referring to the candidacy for president announced by the ex-SIE (Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service) chief Teodor Melescanu that it is should ‘be taken very seriously’ and also that ‘there are no legal problems resulting from this.,” reports Agerpres.
‘We see that the political scene becomes very crowed these days with all the presidential candidates. As far as I am concerned, I worked with Teodor Melescanu during my tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs (…) He is an excellent diplomat,’ said Nastase at the launch of his book ‘The Two Romanians.’
Adrian Nastase also appreciated that Teodor Melescau has ‘the right political profile’ for the presidential job, but voiced concern related to the manner in which the electors will know to perceive his sudden shift from his status as SIE chief to that of a presidential candidate.
In the former head of Executive’s opinion, the votes Teodor Melescanu will gather in the first round of the elections will probably go to Victor Ponta in the second round, since the Social Justice Party belongs to the centre-right of the political spectrum. ‘That’s why, it is the most probably that his electors will go to Victor Ponta,’ said Nastase.