Florian Coldea, former Deputy Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), gave a reply to Colonel Daniel Dragomir, his former Deputy, claiming that most of Dragomir’s public statements are lies and orchestrated attacks.
Dragomir accuses. Coldea responds
“I consider that at this moment there are domestic and external forces that would like Romanian intelligence services to be inhibited and withdrawn in the barracks, so that some could attain their plans and objectives, which have nothing to do with Romania’s interests. In my view, this is the key in which all these attacks must be interpreted,” Florian Coldea, SRI’s former number-two man, stated for ziare.com, in an extensive interview signed by Ioana Ene Dogioiu.
Coldea nevertheless emphasised that the people with whom intelligence officers sit at the table may have legal problems. “The people we meet in order to carry out our mission (…) are from all domains, from all walks of life and social strata. They are not saints, most of them are not members of church choirs and we are not allowed to apply moral, discriminatory filters or prejudice when it comes to meeting any person useful for national security interests. The fact that some of them faced or are facing various problems, including of a legal nature, cannot constitute a problem for us. We are not and we do not feel responsible as long as their problems do not include us. I would like to be extremely categorical regarding the fact that no person is exonerated and nobody is given a protective shield before the law, regardless of how strongly they proclaim that they backed the state, that they knew or met some people or others, that they are close to some high-level officials or whatever they may proclaim,” Coldea says.
The statements come after Daniel Dragomir, a SRI colonel who resigned in 2013, launched a series of accusations, including that Florian Coldea and Laura Codruta Kovesi allegedly took control of the institutions whose directors they were, transforming SRI into “Coldea LLC” and DNA into “Kovesi Sole Proprietorship.” “The targets were jointly established. I know two people who were so close in scheming these things. I’m talking about Kovesi Self Proprietorship and Coldea LLC, which were involved. All those who participated will have to be included on that list. We – the lawbreakers, the civil society, the media – are running the gauntlet of the judiciary. On the other side must be the judges. They should understand that this filth must end, [they should understand] what’s with those who come with paper notes and pleas,” Daniel Dragomir stated on Sunday for Antena3 private broadcaster.
“Those who today are using Dragomir in their petty games will end up noticing that they themselves were used. (…) What we have publicly seen are not revelations, nor information, but disinformation and ordinary lies, and the Service has already made the necessary clarifications. We have seen a man in desperation with the extent of the criminal problems he is facing. If he knew the so-called abuses or illegalities ever since he was an active officer, why hasn’t he notified the relevant institutions since? Why didn’t he do that after leaving the institution, in the last four years, and waited for this moment?” Coldea responded.
The Florian Coldea – Daniel Dragomir relationship
Asked about his relationship with Daniel Dragomir, Florian Coldea denied they were very close. “He was never my deputy or my aide during his career in the Romanian Intelligence Service. To make this clear, he was never my left-hand or right-hand man. These allegations, appearing and stocked in the public space, are part of a wider series of lies of this type, for example that I’m allegedly the relative – cousin it was said – of a gentleman who works in the pharmaceutical drugs industry. (…) We were colleagues and collaborators, had good relations, as members of the same unit, up until 12 years ago. During that period, we jointly took part, alongside other colleagues, in a series of activities. Once I was appointed First Deputy, in 2005, he was one of the dozens of officers of similar position, rank and training who no longer professionally interacted directly with me,” Coldea stated.
On Dragomir leaving the system: “He left via resignation, which is a unilateral action, with the declared motivation of opening a business in order to obtain a higher income in less stressful conditions.”
On the other hand, Daniel Dragomir stated he had a close relationship with the Coldeas, even outside office. Dragomir claimed that their relationship started in 1997. During a televised talk-show, he presented pictures showing him at a table next to Florian Coldea and his wife, who is also an employee of the Service.
“Yes, I loved Coldea. I can say I cared for him very much. I find it hard to talk about personal aspects. I believe this thirst for power grew after the 2009 elections and reached its peak after the 2012 referendum,” Dragomir told Antena3.
National security warrants
A topic that has been much discussed these days refers to the interceptions made under the National Security Law. Former SRI Colonel Daniel Dragomir stated in his recent appearances on TV that journalists, politicians or magistrates have been intercepted between 2009 and 2013 on the basis of such warrants. Dragomir claimed that the warrants were obtained when Laura Codruta Kovesi was at the General Prosecutor’s Office, and when she went to DNA, the warrants were requested from and issued by the National Anticorruption Directorate.
In the interview given to ziare.com, Florian Coldea, former Deputy Director of the Romanian intelligence Service explains: “According to the law, if there is a criminal case, not only DNA, but any structure of the Public Ministry can ask SRI to provide data which can help to establish a possible criminal action. When a specific request is received, SRI has the obligation to provide the data corresponding to that request, which data can be obtained including from national security warrants used in the past, even on an anti-terrorism profile. This means that a suspect of terrorism can conduct activities consisting of constitutive elements of crimes of any kind, other than the ones associated to the terrorist activities. Such elements may seem without relevance when they are obtained, but later, when a prosecutor makes a request, they can be essential in establishing the context of some deeds”.
SRI’s involvement in Justice
“The SRI officers were making the indictments, and the brave DNA prosecutors were taking them, countersigning them and sending them to the court, hoping that the much esteemed tactical field will continue to take care of them in order to provide them with the necessary paths to ensure the conviction” Dragomir has recently accused.
Dragomir said that there is a “path” in Justice through which the Service was choosing the panel to ensure the desired decision. “There were personal relationships between judges and officers who were involved in the tactical field, relationships that have been developed over the time, for instance General Dumbrava was supporting judges to be placed on the positions. The second case, based on blackmail, such as the SIPA archive, and the third was the officers under cover from the judiciary. When we speak about officers under cover among prosecutors and judges, we speak about serious breach of the Constitution” Dragomir stated.
Florian Coldea’s answer for ziare.com: “The cooperation between the two institutions (SRI and DNA) was strictly conducted under the legal limits. There are no indictments that are written by SRI officers. These are pure lies, and the more dangerous they are as they have the appearance of the credibility since they come from a person who was inside the institution and about whom the false idea is implemented that he was my deputy and he worked directly with me. I would like to remind that in 2005, by the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) decision, the corruption phenomenon was including among the threats to the national security (…) I was involved in cooperation activities with prosecutors of the Public Ministry, therefore including with DNA, under the limit of our legal attributions. Such activities were related to decisions regarding SRI’s responsibilities and not to the instrumentation of the causes conducted by the prosecutors”.
Coldea denied that he had an office at DNA or that any SRI officer was involved in preparing any file.
As for the officers “under cover” from the justice, General Coldea stated: “There are no prosecutors or judges who are officers under cover. This was checked many times in the CSAT and by the SRI Oversight Committee. (…) Nobody would assume such a flagrant violation of the law” Coldea stated.
Officers under cover in Media
Regarding the officers under cover in Media, neither Florian Coldea, nor SRI can deny they exist. “I reiterate the public position of the institution, namely that SRI is acting according to the same regulations as the partner services in the Euro-Atlantic area, using human secret sources, including under cover sources, in all the fields of interests for the national security, by strictly observing the law. However, I am worried to see how easy and lacking in responsibility are certain people labeled as officers under cover” Coldea says.
Daniel Dragomir recently stated that he will not reveal the names of those who are working in media under cover, but he mentioned three journalists whom he saw entering or exiting Florian Coldea’s office. “Dan Turturica, Dan Tapalaga and Sorina Matei. I would like to make a comment on her. There have been talks about her in restricted groups, she seemed to be independent and disobedient towards the many orders she had, maybe that’s why she says today certain things in certain matters (…) I’m not saying they are officers under cover, but I saw them entering or exiting General Coldea’s office. What was the reason for which they were going to Coldea? To talk about national security matters? To support citizens’ safety? I don’t think so” Dragomir stated.
He also indicated the trusts where the three persons are working or have been working. Being asked if Digi24 or Hotnews are protected by Coldea, the former SRI Deputy answered: “let’s be serious, lady! I have no connection to any of the press institutions you are talking about”.
Florian Coldea also tried to justify why the statements according to which there were officers under cover in his office are not real. “There is the basic rule of any intelligence service in the world, and I didn’t deviate from it: you cannot have operative meetings with the officers under cover at the headquarter of the institution. This is why I insist to say that these are unskillfully invented lies”.
Coldea and the holidays with Sebastian Ghita
“As all my professional or personal relationships, this one was also under the strict limits of the law and military regulations. This is an opportunity for me to firmly answer to certain accusations or insinuations that I saw in the public space. To be well understood, I had no conditionality, related to anybody, I had no financial or material benefit from any person. No one in good faith can say something else. As for the episodes you are talking about, the internal investigation and the one conducted by the Committee for the SRI Control on this subject, which I assure you that they were extremely rigorous, they indicated also in this case that I observed the law and military regulations in all the circumstances. This is why I was reinstated at the end of the internal investigation” Florian Coldea says about his relationship with Sebastian Ghita.
Asked if there was any friendship relationship between them, Coldea avoided to provide an answer: “I keep myself within the limits of the golden rule in intelligence, regardless of who is in question”.
As for Sebastian Ghita’s status and related to the question if he is an officer under cover, Coldea refused to answer. “Regardless of who it is, the answer to this question is a classified information. Besides, I keep myself within the golden rule in intelligence, meaning that I will not confirm, nor deny where, when, with whom and in what quality I had meetings”.
However, Sebastian Ghita was much more willing to speak about his relationship with Florian Coldea. Immediately after his run in winter, Ghita sent several video tapes to Romania TV which he owns, in which he was speaking about the close relationship with the SRI Deputy Director. Coldea and Ghita families have spent several holidays in Romania and in exotic places, according to Ghita, who also revealed photos to support his statements.
Besides, Ghita’s disclosures have meant the end of Florian Coldea’s career. SRI decided in an internal committee that Coldea is not guilty, but he preferred to resign. Some people said that the option was preferred by the Service, in order to provide Coldea with an elegant exit from the scene.
Dragomir on arriving at SRI Committee: Today I’ll talk about two topics – the breaking of the law and “the judiciary’s gauntlets”
Former SRI Colonel Daniel Dragomir stated on Tuesday, on his arrival at the parliamentary committee overseeing the SRI, that he will talk about two topics before the MPs: the illegal use of national security warrants in corruption cases and “the judiciary’s gauntlets.”
“Today I’ll talk about two important things: firstly, about the breaking of the law and about the illegal use of national security warrants in corruption dossiers and, secondly, we’ll talk about ‘the judiciary’s gauntlets.’ Apart from that, the discussion will expand depending on the questions I’ll receive and on how the topics will evolve in terms of the discussion,” Daniel Dragomir stated.
The former SRI colonel said he brought with him everything needed to prove the public statements he has made so far.
Asked for his comment on the statements made by General Florian Coldea, his former hierarchical superior, who denied in an interview for Ziare.com the revelations Dragomir has made so far, he said he is ready to give an interview to the same publication.
“I’ll take a stand, I’ll start commenting these things tonight, on the blog, after 9 p.m. Today was a bit busy. What I can tell you is one thing and one thing only: I notice I didn’t name Ziare.com in my statements. Since I’ve already talked about metadata, Ziare.com blew its own cover in this interview. Moreover, in case Ziare.com wants to interview me in response, and if Ms Ioana Ene Dogioiu receives the approval to conduct this interview, I’m open to giving it,” Dragomir added.
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated last Tuesday, at the Palace of Parliament, referring to the revelations made by former SRI Colonel Daniel Dragomir, Florian Coldea’s former Deputy, that what has transpired in the public space is very grave and Dragomir should be “rapidly” summoned before the SRI Oversight Committee.