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January 23, 2022

Does DNA legally have the right to tap telephones?

Chief-prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi and general Florian Coldea, deputy director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) are definitely the personalities of the beginning of the year in Romania! The two are both admired for their fight on corruption and slammed by some of the most important politicians, stiripesurse.ro states.

However, whatever their cooperation may be, Kovesi managed to give away the SRI deputy director. In a 2008 interview to Victor Ciutacu, Florian Coldea was saying that, under the law, the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) is the only institution equipped with a tapping facility.

‘Journalist: Apart from you, is anyone else in this country tapping telephones, legally I mean?

F. Coldea: Under the law, the only institution that has the right to do it and that has a technical tapping facility is SRI’.

But he was contradicted by Kovesi in an interview to Radio Romania News and Current Affairs (RRA) on Wednesday, when she said that DNA, too, was tapping into phones. The law has not been amended in the meanwhile.

‘I can tell you that DNA has its own technical department through which we can operate the telephone tapping. Not all the tapping we do is done by the Romanian Intelligence Service. This is probably something the public doesn’t know very well’, the chief-prosecutor of DNA told RRA.

Stiripesurse.ro quotes from the DNA Law:

According to the Emergency Ordinance No. 43/2002 on the National Anti-corruption Department:

Section 151*) – The National Anti-corruption Department is authorised to own and use adequate means for obtaining, checking, processing and storing information on the corruption criminal offences stipulated by Law No. 78/2000, with subsequent amendments, under the law. Any information with an operative value of other nature shall be immediately sent to the authorities empowered by law to check and use it.

Journalist Victor Ciutacu does pas up the chance to ask the chief-prosecutor of DNA a key-question: On what legal ground do DNA prosecutors operate the phone tapping?

‘We should not become hysterical. Let’s approach this methodically, reasonably, based on the law. In 2008, in the only life interview he granted (to me), General Florian Coldea said the only institution who had the right to tap into phones under the law was SRI. Today, seven years later, Codruta Kovesi says DNA, too, taps phones legally. As I do not really sleep with the Official Journal under my pillow, could I ask the chief-prosecutor (or, if she’s too busy with the PR as a future presidential candidate – something she says she does not intend to be – perhaps a spokesperson of hers) which legislative change concretely allows such thing?’ Victor Ciutacu wrote on Wednesday.


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