The director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations James Comey met the head of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Eduard Hellvig on Tuesday, and subsequently appreciated the partnership with the SRI among the best the FBI has worldwide.
Comey congratulated Hellving for his recent appointment at the SRI and especially thanked SRI deputy director, General Florin Coldea, within the context of their meeting in Washington shortly after taking the office at the FBI; he also thanked deputy directors Ion Grosu and Dumitru Cocoru.
This was his first visit to Bucharest since he was appointed at the FBI in the autumn of 2013, Comey mentioned. His predecessor Bob Mueller paid his last visit to Romania in 2011. Mueller underscored that Romania and the United States have a collaboration relation vital for the fight against terrorism and crime. This was true back then and it became even truer now, as the Romanian-American partnership has developed over the past three years, the FBI head continued. He also said he felt privileged to be in Bucharest for the celebration of one of FBI’s best partnership in the world.
According to Agerpres, Comey continued by appreciating the force of the partnership between the FBI and the SRI, pointing out that the fight against cybercrime was a top priority for both agencies.
Cybercrime is among FBI’s key priorities, and SRI’s, too, he declared. Criminals acting over the Internet can cause damage all over the world, as our lives are completely connected to the Internet, the director added. Collaboration was very important, compressing the world, just as the criminals do, in order to protect our citizens, and we are making efforts alongside our Romanian colleagues to identify and indict the known cyber criminals, guilty of hoaxing thousands of people all around the world, Comey went on.
He also stated an important side of the cooperation between the FBI and the SRI was the constant exchange of information on counterespionage, on antiterrorist fight, on combating the corruption and the transnational organized crime.
In 2013, joint efforts have resulted in the arrest and extradition of two Romanians from the United States to Romania, under charges of tax evasion and money laundering, Comey mentioned, voicing his hope in enhanced collaboration in this field.
He also addressed the raise of the expertise level based on training stages shared by the two agencies.
Since 2013, the FBI provided its Romanian counterparts training in crisis negotiation, in law enforcement in multicultural contexts, in improvised explosive devices and in the prevention of illegal traffic of nuclear and radioactive materials. This month, FBI is training two Romanian officers in responding to terrorist activities. Law enforcement and intelligence officers of Romania have attended practice stages in FBI’s training centre of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the United States, law enforcement officers from all over the world, including Romania, are trained together at the FBI National Academy of Quantico, Virginia; since 1995, 32 Romanian officers graduated from this academy, director Comey detailed.
Also, many Romanian officers were trained at the International Law Enforcement Academy of Budapest, he added; 41 Romanian officers attended law enforcement, crisis negotiation, and tactical and urban survival courses there, he pointed out.
The Internet has changed the world more than famous bank robber John Dillinger did, says Comey. Cybercrime makes us all neighbours, as threat moves at the speed of light. To respond to it, we must compress the world and truly become a global law enforcement community, he concluded.
Romanian Intelligence Service head, Hellvig: SRI, FBI to further cooperate particularly on cyber-security
The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will further develop dialogue and cooperation, particularly in the area of cyber security, and also as regards the combat of organized crime, terrorism, corruption and espionage, freshly installed SRI director Eduard Hellvig declared on Tuesday at the end of the talks held at the institution’s central offices with FBI director James Comey.
Hellvig stressed that the meeting with the FBI head, now at his first official visit to Romania, takes place in the context of major challenges to regional geopolitical and global stability, which confer special significance to the combat of actions that could weaken the rule of law from the inside, such as corruption deeds.
“I am glad that right on my first day at the SRI helm I have the honor to receive the visit of the representative of one the most important international partners of the SRI, specifically of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Like any visit of such high level, this was not a mere courtesy trip. On the contrary, it was a hands-on visit where we assessed the state of cooperation between the SRI and the FBI, but also the concrete directions for the future development of our partnership. Under the SRI – FBI bilateral partnership, we intensively exchange information and conduct joint operations in several areas of priority, such as cyber security, the combat of organized crime and corruption, fighting terrorism and espionage,” said the SRI director.
Hellvig explained that the meeting with the FBI director occurs amid “major challenges to regional and global geopolitical stability, as well as of attacks against international law and democracy,” referring in particular to the Ukrainian crisis.
“Therefore, strengthening the rule of law and the supremacy of law, as well as combating the activities that weaken the state from within, especially corruption, acquire a special significance, especially in the current situation. I am referring here to the Ukraine crisis. As you are well aware, Romania, through SRI, is a leading nation in the NATO Cyber Security Trust Fund (…) The cooperation between SRI and FBI is one of the concrete modalities through which we can more effectively manage such a complex and volatile security environment,” said Hellvig quoted by Agerpres.
Referring to future projection elements, the SRI director mentioned that, following talks with the FBI head, the parties agreed to continue and develop dialogue, especially on cyber security, an area where the SRI is a national authority.
The SRI head also underscored the importance of expertise exchanges carried out through international partnerships, especially that with the FBI in the line of cyber security. Hellvig thanked the FBI director for the joint SRI staff training projects carried out.
In the end, Eduard Hellvig assured James Comey that SRI will always be “an open and reliable partner” to the FBI.