Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Eduard Hellvig (photo R) on Tuesday informed, at the presentation of the institution’s activity report for 2014, that the service provided over 3,300 briefings or notifications to the law enforcement agencies last year, by 12 per cent more than in 2013.
“We provided over 3,300 briefings/notifications to the law enforcement agencies, by 12 per cent more than in 2013 and we also provided a number of 783 notifications to the inter-institutional working group dealing with preventing and combating tax evasion,’ said Hellvig.
We presented the main issues with a potential of affecting Romania’s nationals security in 2014 and what SRI had done. SRI dosed its efforts on a series of priorities relative to the national risk map: it offered its lawful beneficiaries over 8,000 intelligence notes. With its partners, SRI exchanged dozens of thousands of messages and engaged in joint activities’, the SRI head said.
He showed that his first report since taking over as chief of the Service comes at a special time, given that the institution is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
“Even if mistakes were also made, they were not of the kind to affect the national security. I have already referred to the challenges to security this morning, at the presentation of the activity report. The Service offered over 8,000 briefings/notifications and analyses to its beneficiaries, which were of help in the decision-making process. We exchanged tens of thousands of messages with our partners and we carried out countless actions together with them,” said Hellvig, quoted by Agerpres.
He also specified that the Service never failed while submitting these briefings/notifications in observing its basic rules of neutrality and equidistance.
The SRI chief also spoke about the risk maps, and mainly about the situation in Ukraine, while showing that the SRI correctly anticipated and informed the decision-making factors about the possible developments in the region in terms of risks, which resulted in a series of important strategic decisions having been made in what concerns national security.
“Moreover, the Service paid a special attention to counter-espionage, which grew in intensity, but still remained at a low level of impact, due to the activity of the institution. In regard to the terrorist threats, we especially focused on implementing a series of combined measures of prevention and counterwork, so that we were able to maintain the blue level – meaning ‘caution’, including as a result of efforts made by the SRI. We remain among the few countries that have not been affected by this scourge yet,” said Hellvig.
He showed that one of the priorities of the Service in 2015 will be to increase its efficiency.
“The Service will continue to work in 2015 to identify, anticipate and, in those fields where we have a right to interfere, to thwart risks to national security. We will be the trustful allies of the other institutions in charge with the national security,” said Hellvig.
The SRI chief also said that he wanted to take the institution’s openness to the civil society and the academic environment to a new level, with important resources following to be invested in analytical expertise.
“Moreover, the SRI will pay a special attention to the public opinion, to which we owe the maximum transparency that an intelligence service affords to provide. It is also necessary that we maintain a positive balance between the security binomial and the private life and promote a legislative package to reflect this balance of nature and to allow the SRI at the same time to accomplish its fundamental mission of defending the state and the citizens,” the SRI director concluded.
Participating in the SRI 2014 activity report presentation was also the head of the state, Klaus Iohannis, and other members of the security structures in Romania.
President Iohannis: Service’s conduct should be neutral toward political games
President Klaus Iohannis attended on Tuesday the presentation of the report on the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) in 2014. At a press conference given alongside SRI Director Eduard Hellvig, President Iohannis stated that he will carefully follow the Service’s conduct, expecting it to be “a balanced one, neutral toward political games and in relation with society.”
Klaus Iohannis was welcomed at the SRI headquarters by SRI Director Eduard Hellvig and SRI Deputy Director Florian Coldea.
In a press statement that followed the presentation of the activity review report, Klaus Iohannis stated that “the final break with the past” was among the things he wanted to emphasize.
“After 25 years we can say that it is the merit of those who have acted until now with professionalism and seriousness, who have completely left the past behind and have transformed this Service and the perception toward it. In recent years the Romanian Intelligence Service has experienced an ample process of modernization and reorganization and has become a vector of national stability. To the same extent as performance, the Service’s main gain is respect toward the democratic regime, as part of its organizational culture. As I have stated before, state institutions should never forget that they serve the citizen, and intelligence services have the mission to protect democracy. A better response capacity to security challenges should continue to be doubled by a position of neutrality and integrity,” Iohannis said.
The President added that the second thing he referred to was “the clear recognition of the Service’s value in the Euro-Atlantic community”: “I am glad to note that SRI is considered a serious and efficient partner. There are important domains, such as anti-terrorism, counter-espionage, combating organized crime, in which SRI’s role is strongly appreciated by strategic partners.”
“Last but not least, Romania has lacked surprises of a strategic nature, and to a large extent this is SRI’s merit. Despite worrisome regional and international developments, in 2014 Romania remained a landmark of stability in the Euro-Atlantic construction. SRI has significantly contributed to the fight against corruption and to consolidating national security. In fact, these are also the major directions of action that the Service has defined for the current year and which I support.
2015 is the last year in a cycle assumed by the Service in the “Romanian Intelligence Service in the Information Age” Strategic Vision and the first year for a new institutional leadership. It will be a defining moment for the evolution of the Service, in the sense of continuing the process of transformation in which professional efficiency and respect for democracy mutually reinforce each other. I have full confidence that Director Eduard Hellvig, a person that knows well both the sensitivities of an open society as well as the rigours demanded by Romania’s status as an EU member states, will decisively contribute to this process.
In my view, the principle that has to define the approach in the security domain is that of cooperation. This entails good communication and cooperation between the Service and its partners and beneficiaries, with the institutions that watch over its activity and even with society as a whole. I will carefully follow the Service’s conduct, and I expect it to be a balanced one, neutral toward political games and in relation to society,” Iohannis stated.
The day before, the President signed decrees on the promotion of several SRI generals.
According to the Presidential Administration, Iohannis signed the decree on promoting Colonel Anghel Daniel to the rank of Brigadier General in the Romanian Intelligence Service, the one on promoting Colonel Ciocirlan Adrian to the rank of Brigadier General in SRI and the one on promoting Colonel Vatra Stefan to the rank of Brigadier General in SRI.