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August 1, 2021

Controversies around number of SRI wiretaps

The statements that Claudiu Manda, Chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence Committee, made on Thursday, according to which more than 6 million persons were wiretapped from 2005 to 2016, have triggered a wave of reactions.

“One of the conclusions of the Committee’s report is that the restraining of rights and liberties of citizens, guaranteed by the Constitution, was made on a large scale, using abusively those legal instruments that are national security mandates, technical surveillance mandates or authorizations for technical supervision set down by prosecutors. (…) In the context in which one surveillance mandate, as we have seen and have heard in the Committee, can contain an average of 20 persons or spaces wiretapped, we can assume that there were more than 6 million persons wiretapped during this entire period,” Claudiu Manda said.


Daniel Dragomir: EUR 3,000 per day of stakeout at SRI; one day, all of us will understand why we don’t have highways or hospitals, but we have a lot of “intelligence”


Former officer of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Daniel Dragomir wrote on Sunday on his Facebook page that one day of wiretapping costs SRI 3,000 euro and stated that “one day all of us will understand why we don’t have highways or hospitals, but we have a lot of ‘intelligence’”.

“Here is your money! EUR 3,000 per one day of stakeout at SRI,” Daniel Dragomir wrote on Sunday on his Facebook page.

He said that “one day all of us will understand why we don’t have highways or hospitals, but we have a lot of ‘intelligence.’”

“Huge amounts of money have been spent to monitor Romanians. That’s why, besides the criminal liability, Coldea, Kovesi and the other mafia people who rule the deep state will have to pay the amounts spent for their personal interest in order to destroy their opponents or to monitor Romanians,” Dragomir also wrote; he said that the money must be recovered “to the last cent.”

Former SRI officer Daniel Dragomir was in custody from September 14 to December 29, 2016, in the “Black Cube” case, in which he is accused of forming an organized criminal group, incitement to the illegal accessing of a computer system, incitement to unauthorized transfer of computer data, incitement to illegal operations with computer devices and software, incitement to IT forgery in continuous form and incitement to violation of the secrecy of correspondence.


Intel Cttee Deputy Chairman: I ask SRI to present data on sums spent on wiretapping


Marin Cucsa, Deputy Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has stated that the Romanian Intelligence Service must reveal what were the sums spent on wiretapping, against the backdrop in which former SRI officer Daniel Dragomir stated that a day of wiretapping costs 3,000 euro.

“The data that appear publicly regarding the wiretapping carried out by the Romanian Intelligence Service in the last 14 years show that our country has become a veritable promised land for intelligence services. The impressive number of wiretap warrants, as well as the cost of the wiretap equipment that the SRI is using, confirms the extent that the phone wiretap phenomenon has taken. Basically, there are data that show that Romanians have paid, out of their own money, hundreds of millions – if not billions – of euro to be wiretapped. Romanians surely have the right to know precisely what the expenditures on wiretapping were. Any Romanian wonders in these conditions if it wouldn’t have been better for this money to be used for economic and social objectives that are more important, such as expressways, schools or hospitals,” House lawmaker Marian Cucsa (ALDE) stated on Sunday, in a press release remitted to MEDIAFAX.

He pointed out that, early this year, a comparative analysis was made public, showing that the SRI’s budget was higher than that of other intelligence services from Italy, Germany, France, or Poland.

“As Clean Romania were showing, in March, in an analysis comparing the Romanian Intelligence Service and similar institutions from the 10 strongest NATO states, SRI has the highest number of employees per capita, and the highest budget as share of the national budget, managing to spend more than its counterpart services from Germany, France, Italy and Poland. (…) In this situation, it’s normal for there to be a series of questions regarding the way the SRI has acted, and the sums earmarked from the state budget for the wiretapping of Romanians. These are natural questions, because we see that in Romania that the wiretapping of phones has been given priority in budget expenditures, namely in violation of the rights and freedoms of Romanians. That is why, in my capacity as deputy chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I demand clarifications from the leadership of the Service. I consider that Romanians have the right to know how their money was spent and if their rights were infringed upon with the use of their money,” Cucsa added.

The deputy chairman of the Intelligence Committee also says that one can no longer talk about justice in the real sense of the word if the citizens’ rights and freedoms are being infringed, but about an abuse on the part of enforcement institutions.

“Justice must be served unequivocally, but everything must be made in a democratic logic of respect for the citizens’ rights and freedoms. There is no true justice if the rights of the citizen are violated and establishing abuse as a common practice of enforcement institutions is allowed. We find ourselves in the outright ridiculous situation in which Romanians are paying to be wiretapped, for their rights to be violated. Considering the high number of wiretaps, people should not live with the impression that the rule of law, the enforcement institutions, are oppressing, are terrorising the citizens,” Marian Cucsa concluded.


Elena Udrea on SRI’s expenditures on wiretapping: The corruption of politicians was not the only one squandering public money


Referring to the fact that a day of wiretapping allegedly costs the Romanian Intelligence Service 3,000 euro, ex-Minister Elena Udrea wrote on Facebook that now it is being noticed that politicians and civil servants were not the only ones squandering public money, the establishment that consists of former SRI directors, officers, prosecutors and judges also doing that.

“The stupidity and corruption of politicians and civil servants were not the only ones squandering public money and blocking the development of the country, as we kept hearing for years. But also the corruption and wretchedness of the Establishment formed by former SRI Directors, officers, prosecutors and judges, or heads of the state’s enforcement institutions. Time has come for them to pay for all the evil done!” Elena Udrea wrote on Facebook.


SRI’s Marincea:  Distorting figures does not have desired effect on SRI determination to fulfil missions


On the other hand, SRI Spokesperson Ovidiu Marincea said in a press statement on Friday that distorting some figures does not have the desired effect on the determination of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) to fulfil its missions, but on the state of mind of citizens.

“The SRI believes that the taking over and distortion of some information, figures, erroneous facts does not have the desired effect on the determination of the Service to fulfil its legal missions, but one that is more profound on the state of mind of citizens, which can have graver effects on the state of national security. SRI Director Eduard Hellvig wishes to assure our internal and external partners that the SRI remains committed in its missions to preserve national security in a fair relation to all partners and the civil society and in the service of Romanian citizens. We state our determination to continue correct and institutional cooperation with Parliament’s Intelligence Committee,” Marincea said.

He mentioned that on Thursday the mass media was rife with three unofficial figures. “We have received several requests from you, from the media, to explain those numbers, but I believe it’s the role of those issuing them to explain them, as on behalf of the SRI nobody has sent those numbers through any address to any institution. The first figure: 311,000 mandates and authorizations in total. I mention that the SRI has not sent any address to the Parliamentary Committee in which this figure is mentioned. I, as spokesperson, have heard of this figure, I saw it in a study online on a blog in Cluj. The second figure: an average of 20 persons wiretapped per mandate. The Chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence Committee stated that, in his belief and that of the commission, of the total mandates for national security interspersed with those for normal crimes there were, I quote, on average, 20 persons wiretapped per mandate. It is an inaccurate average, if we take into account that in most SRI mandates, for example, we have one or two persons per mandate. The third figure is 6 million Romanians listened to. This figure is the result of multiplying an inexact coefficient with an unofficial figure from a blog,” Marincea stated.

He said that the data that the SRI has made available to the Intelligence Committee since November 2017 were also publicly relayed in the press release of the SRI remitted on Thursday, namely that from 11.12.2004 to 16.02.2016 the total number of national security mandates (initial, extensions, completions) requested by the SRI stood at 28,784, and of those, initial mandates were 9,292.

He mentioned that he made this statement not as a reply to someone, but because it involves the SRI’s responsibility towards the citizens, towards its internal and external partners.

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