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May 19, 2022

CIA secret prison issue stirs controversy: PACE President urges serious investigation, former SRI director denies Iliescu’s statements

Former President Ion Iliescu’s recent interview for Der Spiegel  has stirred controversy.  He stated that he approved in principle in the period 2002-2003 a request of the USA on the creation of a CIA centre in Romania, however without knowing that it was going to be a detention unit. The  details of the project have been established at that time by Ioan Talpes, who was head of the Presidential Administration and head of the Department of National Security of the presidency.

“In a recent interview in Der Spiegel, former Romanian President Ion Iliescu has admitted that he knew about a ‘CIA facility’ in Romania, though he denies knowing what went on inside it,” said  Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).


PACE President hails former President’s admission, urges investigation on this matter


“Back in 2006 and 2007, the Assembly’s rapporteur on CIA renditions and secret detentions Dick Marty accused Romania, alongside Poland, of having hosted secret detention facilities used for the torture of suspects in the so-called war on terror.

The Marty reports set in motion a process which Senator Marty called the ‘dynamic of truth’, resulting in more whistleblowers coming forward and leading to findings of violations of the European Convention of Human Rights by the Strasbourg Court, including  recent rulings against Poland relating to a ‘black site’ identified by Senator Marty in 2007.

“In view of Mr Iliescu’s admission, it is now up to the Romanian prosecutorial authorities to conduct a serious investigation into the facts, and to hold to account the perpetrators of any crimes committed in this context,” Mrs. Brasseur maintained.



Former SRI director George Maior, after Ion Iliescu’s statements: No CIA special centres were approved in Romania


The former director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), George Maior, declared on Friday that no special centres of the CIA were approved in Romania and pointed out that ex-President Ion Iliescu was either misunderstood or his statement in the interview for Spiegel Online was taken out of context.

“I do not know the context that determined Mr. ex-President of Romania Ion Iliescu to give such interview and I am afraid that some of his statements were presented out of context. It is worth analyzing. What I can tell you is that no such special centres being discussed internationally were approved in Romania – you realize it would be ridiculous. Indeed, CSAT approved important elements related to cooperation, cooperation platforms on various domains of major importance for our national security and for the national security of the United States, for collaboration between services, as far as combating terrorism and counter-proliferation are concerned. This thing is completely different. To approve, as it is normal and legal inside of a state – the opening of a cooperation on the counter-terrorist elements of those years, that deepened as time went by, becoming one of the most significant in the world, cooperation in the field of combating terrorism with the United States are highly interesting subjects for the national security of both states. No such centres were approved, and, probably, Mr. President Ion Iliescu was misunderstood, or this statement of his was grabbed out of context inside the interview”, George Maior declared for Adevarul Live, as quoted by Mediafax.


We should watch this matter much more calmly


Maior mentioned the Parliament Investigation Committee on the alleged CIA prisons in Romania and outlined that the committee had completed a “serious activity”.

“Flights were identified and all of these things are included in that report approved by the Parliament. On the other hand, considering a certain development of the media, not in an international official report referring to these centres – I know that there is an ongoing inquiry conducted by the Public Prosecutor General on this matter – things can be solved. So, we should watch this matter more calmly and not exaggerate it, especially in a context that is quite sensitive for the national security of the Romanian state”, George Maior mentioned.

The former SRI manager showed that such statements, made without any serious evaluation of facts, can increase the ranking of risk related to terrorist threats. “You realize that people see and read such declarations and I would like to point out to people discussing such thing or former holders of positions of authority to be very cautious and considerate in their statements, because, as you see, they may be interpreted this way. There is also the sensitive geopolitical context in which we are acting out right now, the things happening in Ukraine, Russia, such things that are finally casting a shadow upon the credibility of the Romanian state”, Maior concluded.


PM Ponta: Since I have been Prime Minister, I have had no data on existence of CIA prisons in Romania


Prime Minister Victor Ponta in Craiova on Friday said that he has no information concerning the existence of any CIA prisons on Romania’s territory.

“In the three years since I have been Prime Minister, I have never had any kind of information concerning the existence of these prisons. Whether there have been or not before, I don’t know, as I did not have leading positions in the state, I can only tell you what I know: since I have been Prime Minister, I have never had any kind of information that something like this existed,” the Prime Minister said.






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