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February 3, 2023

The Head of SIE Parliament Commission: George Maior’s proposal to merge SIE with SRI is incautious

In an interview with Bursa newspaper, Mihaita Calimente, the Head of SIE Parliament Commission, comments on the SRI Director proposal to merge the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) and the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).

Asked how he appreciates George Maior’s proposal to merge SIE and SRI, the PNL deputy labeled it as “incautious”.

“I find it an incautious proposal. I do not know yet the calculations made by Mr. Maior. Yet, of all information I have of all serious democracies, the two services are separated because, effectively, the themes and objectives of the institutions are different.

Obviously, we discussed that integrated community of information by means of which we would be able to solve a few issues that may appear between intelligence services, so that better communication and cooperation would exist. It is necessary that the laws governing our intelligence services – the National Security Law, the Intelligence Officers’ Law, all that package of laws regulating national security be reviewed and adapted for present time, because these laws were issued at the beginning of the 90s.

We attempted to change these laws during 2004 – 2008, but we were unable to, because President Basescu sent the securitized laws to the Commission, many of our colleagues refused to work with them because they were securitized and other people had no ORNISS certificate. A massive controversy started and we were unable to change those laws in any way”, Mihaita Calimente declared in an interview for the paper Bursa.

Asked about the reform of intelligence services after 1990 and about the efficiency of this reform in the case of SIE, Calimente replied that, after joining the EU and NATO, the Romanian intelligence services underwent reforms based on the patterns of Occidental services.

“Our offices attended training sessions in the West, there were experience exchanges. The organization system is similar, there is a cooperation and a change of information among our services and allied services. Obviously, things may be improved. Besides, sums allocated to the services should increase, in my opinion, so that the competent people we have would benefit of the equipment they need”, the head of the SIE Parliament Commission declared for Bursa.


The appointment of Intelligence Service directors was connected to the political algorithm


Asked by the reporter of the paper Bursa what he would comment on the frequent changes of the SIE manager, considering that, so far, the Service has had as many as eight managers, the head of the Parliament Commission said: “In Romania, the managers of the two services are appointed by the President and, afterwards, they are voted by the Parliament. Usually, each time the President changed, a replacement of the Intelligence Service managers followed.”Somehow, the appointment of Intelligence Services managers was connected to the political algorithm”, said Calimente.

He completely denied the idea launched by the reporter of Bursa, that this practice could encourage information leaking, under the circumstances that management changes are so frequent:“I do not think so, because a similar practice exists in other countries as well. Let us look, by example, at the United States that we might describe as our role model and our strategic ally in NATO. In the US, as well, as administration changes, usually the heads of intelligence services are changed, too.””President Basescu was a player President, and during his ten years of office, he changed managers several times. Appointments were more frequent at SIE. At SRI, though, Mr. George Maior is in that position for over five year”.

In the opinion of the PNL deputy, changes at the top were more frequent in the case of SIE than SRI because “the relation with President Traian Basescu was perhaps more challenging. We know it quite well that the term of Mr. Claudiu Saftoiu was quite short, due to a conflict he had with Traian Basescu after he made certain statements”, Calimente said.
“Afterwards, there was Mr. Razvan Ungureanu, who had a term of three or four years, yet he was then proposed for the position of Prime Minister and replaced by Mr. Teodor Melescanu.
Now we are able to see that there was a strong, documented conflict between Mr. Teodor Melescanu and Traian Basescu regarding certain requests the President had made concerning the files of undercover officers”.

“In the end, Mr. Melescanu quit to run for President and, ever since, the position is covered by Prime-Adjunct Silviu Predoiu”, Calimente concluded his try to provide explanations for the frequent changes of SIE managers that occurred lately.


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