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October 21, 2021

Senate Speaker Tariceanu proposes creation of National Authority for Communications Wiretapping

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, Co-President of the Romanian Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) announced he will lodge with Parliament a draft law on the establishment of a National Authority for Communications Wiretapping.

He specified he signed this bill alongside other MPs.

“The National Authority for Communications Wiretapping is to be established as an informative authority, as legal person, autonomous and independent from any other authority of the public administration, under Parliament’s control, with competence on Romania’s soil, unique and exclusive in communications wiretapping,” says the bill.

According to the bill, the president and vice-president of the said authority are appointed by the Senate and Lower Chamber in plenary sitting for a one-time 6-year term.

“Our basic obligation as liberals and MPs is to fight for the rights and freedoms of the individuals,” said Tariceanu on Tuesday in the Senate.

According to him, it is not the place for the Prosecutor’s Office to wiretap.

“In a country where the citizens’ rights and freedoms are observed, we cannot let such operation to the intelligence services, nor to the prosecutors. Therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office will be first beneficiary even if it has hastily made its own service. It doesn’t matter. The people, the gear, if they exist, legally speaking, another entity is set and they move there, and then we’ll be sure there is no rigged evidence, as it has recently happened, plus the other issues resulting from here. One example: what happens with the wiretapping connected to a criminal investigation under way? Who is storing it, is anybody using it, will anybody be using it 8 years from now, the wiretapping linked to one’s private life?” said Tariceanu.

When asked if the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Prosecutor’s Office should put their own wiretapping services under the Authority, Tariceanu answered in the affirmative.

As for the secret services, the Senate’s President said that what concerns the national security could be their jurisdiction.

“The pattern we suggest is not unique; it is also used in other countries of Europe and in the U.S., where the concern for human rights is paramount. Countries with greater national security problems than Romania, countries that are confronted with terrorism, do have at the same time the concern to keep this component referring to the citizens’ freedom,” the Senate Speaker added.

In his opinion, such authority is necessary “so that what happened in the past, when the intelligence services played the judiciary would not happen anymore.”

“I want us to enter normalcy, where the Romanian citizens feel at home, and not terrorized, not frightened, not in that atmosphere that dominated Romania in the ’50-’60. (…) I believe that the reform of the state means to amend the faulty functioning of some institutions,” concluded Tariceanu.


 “I was wiretapped in 2015 on basis of national security warrant”


On Tuesday, Tariceanu stated that he was wiretapped in 2015 on the basis of a national security warrant.

“I was at the High Court today, I sat there waiting on the hallways for a long time. A new court hearing date has been set because there are problems with the way in which the prosecutors drafted the case file. It concerns let’s say the legality and regularity of evidence, of the wiretaps, I can’t go into more details,” Tariceanu stated for B1TV.

He added that the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) wiretapped his phone conversations with his former aide on the basis of a national security warrant.

“I was talking with Silberstein on the phone; he had no capacity, wasn’t suspected of anything. This was happening in 2015. One of the accusations is that I lied when asked about the nature of my relationship with Silberstein. They asked me what was the nature of the relationship – “do you meet often, do you talk often?” I said – sporadically. They said “how come sporadically, we have wiretaps proving you talked twice in two months.” He had arrived Bucharest; he had been my aide at the time I was Prime Minister. And the conversation went like this: “Hello! Hello! How are you? I’m in Bucharest. Ah, that’s good.” He asks me: “how are you, do you have time for a cup of coffee?” “Yes, my pleasure, I’ll see you Monday,” I answered. That Monday we spoke again and I told him “I’m sorry we can no longer meet because I’m busy, talk to you next month.” And they said “these [talks] were not sporadic, this means there was a link that was constantly maintained,” the Senate Speaker said, Agerpres informs.

He added that the criminal prosecution against him started before it officially did so.

“They started to wiretap me, they summoned me this year as a “witness” to use my deposition as a witness, to possibly correlate it with the wiretaps, even though they have absolutely no grounds, and then to transform me into a defendant,” Tariceanu emphasised.

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