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February 5, 2023

Der Spiegel: Former SIE official admits the existence of CIA prisons in Romania

Ioan Talpes, ex-head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), is the first top ranking Romanian official to confirm the existence of at least one CIA prison in the country, German daily ‘Der Spiegel ‘ states, according to ziare.com.

Talpes reportedly told Spiegel online that a transit prison ‘where it is probable that people were locked up and received inhuman treatment’ did exist in Romania between 2003 and 2006, before being moved to other places. SIE head from 1992 to 1997, Ioan Talpes told the German journalists that, between 2003 and 2006, Romania hosted one or two CIA prisons where the inmates were treated in an inhuman manner. The prisons were then moved to other countries.Talpes says he had talks with CIA and US Army officials on cooperation in the field, and the US representatives received clearance to operate in specific locations. The former head of SIE says he doesn’t know what the Americans were doing in those places and that the Romanian authorities did not show any interest to find out as they wanted to demonstrate their willingness to cooperate as a new NATO member. During time, both President Ion Iliescu and President Traian Basescu have denied that CIA had any prisons in the Romanian territory. A Parliament commission confirmed, after a probe conducted in 2006, that Romania had hosted CIA activities. Even after the publication of the report on CIA tortures, also mentioning Romania, local politicians continued to deny the participation of our country. Ioan Talpes also said the location of the transit prison had been decided upon following detailed talks with the Romanian authorities and that he had been in permanent contact with CIA and US Army officials on their close cooperation with Romania. The main purpose of all such conversations was always to allow CIA to perform its activity, the ex-SIE chief told the quoted source.On the other hand, Talpes denied that he knew the location of the CIA detention centers or what was happening in those and noted that Romania ‘had no interest to know what CIA was doing there’. Ioan Talpes also said that negotiations had been conducted in order to demonstrate that Romania was willing to cooperate with a view to being accepted into NATO, something that happened in March 2004. ‘What happened in those locations is the Americans’ problem’, Talpes said.
Ex-President Ion Iliescu, whose security advisor Talpes was, last week denied the existence of CIA prisons in Romania. However, Ioan Talpes reportedly said he had personally informed  Ion Iliescu in the 2003-2004 period that the Americans were conducting ‘certain activities’ on the territory of Romania, the German daily informs.

On the other hand, in an interview granted to ‘Adevarul’ on Friday, Ioan Talpes said the report presented in the US Senate was ‘a fake’. ‘Things are not to be said in that way. Definitely, Romania or President Ion Iliescu was not informed on situations or possible talks on the CIA initiative regarding the location of some centers in Romania. (…) We only had talks about CIA support locations in Romania, where we were supposed to offer CIA locations where they could organize activities they would have performed in other territories. (…)

The discussion was as natural as possible from the point of view of cooperation. There may have been one or two locations, I was never there. If there were locations, from what I have seen, there is one where prisoners were brought. The certain thing is that we had no knowledge on the prisoners, we did not manage them and we did not cooperate’, Talpes told ‘Adevarul’.





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