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September 29, 2022

USR member of SRI Oversight Cttee: Through Manda’s voice, PSD lies about number of phone taps

Lucian Viziteu, Save Romania Union (USR) member of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Oversight Committee, has stated that the information that the Social Democratic Party (PSD) has made public, via Committee Chairman Claudiu Manda, regarding 6 million Romanians whose phones were tapped by the SRI, is false and meant to spread confusion among Romanians.

“PSD, through the voice of Senator Claudiu Manda and of his colleagues from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), has publicly launched false information with the direct goal of creating confusion and tricking Romanians. Claudiu Manda and his colleagues from ALDE and UDMR have claimed, in an official document of the SRI Oversight Committee, that there allegedly were 6 million Romanians whose phones were tapped, who were under surveillance in the last 10 years. At the same time, the PSD propaganda unfairly denigrated the Public Ministry, both the prosecutors and the judges, with the clear desire to denigrate the image of the Romanian judicial system. Had the data on the number of persons whose phones were tapped been correct, I would have expected the PSD to try to do something to address the situation. Had the data been true, it would have meant that Romania was a veritable dictatorship in which one third of the population was under surveillance, or the country with the highest crime rate in the world. It’s clear that neither the members of the PSD, nor Mr Manda, nor Mr Dragnea took this figure for real,” House lawmaker Lucian Viziteu (USR) stated.

He stated, at the Palace of Parliament, that in the last three months he authored a study by lodging, with all Romanian prosecutor’s offices, requests for information on the number of persons placed under special surveillance. As a result, the USR parliamentarian stated that the number of persons targeted by such measures stands at 266,200 from 2005 to 2015.

Of these persons, 39 percent were targeted by probes handled by prosecutor’s offices attached to courts, 38 percent by the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), 13 percent by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the remaining 10 percent by the prosecutor’s offices attached to Courts of Appeals, PICCJ and the prosecutor’s offices attached to tribunals.

Lucian Viziteu said that of the total criminal cases solved, only in 1.69 percent the targeted persons were intercepted with the use of SRI instruments.

“The number itself – 266,455 – must be compared to the total volume of criminal cases, in order to see whether this measure was used in moderation and only in the cases in which there was a clear necessity. I have compared this number to the total number of cases solved in 2005-2015, according to Public Ministry reports, and the result was 1.69 percent (total number of persons related to the number of criminal cases solved),” the data published by Viziteu shows.

He states that “instead of real oversight, to the benefit of civil rights and freedoms, the PSD/ALDE/UDMR lying trio is dealing with lies and disinformation within the parliamentary committee for the oversight of the SRI.”

“The representatives of the trio of lies – PSD, ALDE and UDMR – within the SRI Oversight Committee lie, flagrantly exaggerate, and use these offices to denigrate and demonise the entire Public Ministry, as well as the institutions that deal with national security. The only document that the PSD, ALDE and UDMR representatives within the SRI Oversight Committee were capable of writing contains grave exaggerations which manipulate public opinion in an inadmissible form. Following the statements made, publicly assumed in an SRI Oversight Committee report too, voted only by the majority members of PSD/ALDE/UDMR, the public opinion found out about a mindboggling number of persons (6 million) who were allegedly the object of measures that limited civil rights and liberties,” Lucian Viziteu added.

The member of the SRI Oversight Committee announced that he will propose the setting up of a registry of special surveillance warrants that would include, for each prosecutor’s office, details on the approved warrants requested, their cost and their juridical finality.

“This registry will become an integral part of the annual report on the court system, so that the way in which special investigative means that limit civil rights and freedoms are used in Romania would be clearly and comprehensively known by us all,” he posted on his personal website.

At the same time, he claims that the Public Ministry will be able to annually present data on the surveillance warrants.

Claudiu Manda (PSD), Chairman of the Senate’s SRI Oversight Committee, stated on 1 June 2018 that more than six million Romanians were intercepted by the SRI in 2005-2016, but also that he was notified that in 2012 almost the entire Government and more than 100 parliamentarians were intercepted.

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