Romania, Intelligence and Security




Romania, Intelligence and Security

A former Soviet bloc country, Romania is struggling to rebuild its national government and economy following the collapse of Soviet communism. Romania further struggled to free its government of authoritarian influences. In 1989, nationalist forces arrested, tried, and executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, beginning the arduous process of democratizing the Romanian government. During Ceausescu's rule, Romanian intelligence and security forces conducted a brutal campaign to crush political dissent. The government now endeavors to distance Romania's new intelligence and security community with the legacy of its predecessors. However, lingering public suspicion of government agencies and police forces has proved difficult to overcome.

The Office of the President oversees Romania's primary domestic intelligence and security services. The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) is the nation's main internal intelligence agency. The agency is responsible for assessing threats to national security, conducting surveillance on behalf of the military and government, and protecting national economic interests. Though the agency has been reformed several times since 1990, public suspicion about the secretive nature of domestic intelligence policy persists. Parliamentary restrictions place on the SRI include the necessity to obtain warrants for most surveillance operations, and a permanent ban on using intelligence service equipment and personnel for political reasons. To help assuage public concerns, the SRI is one of two Romanian intelligence agencies whose organization and operation is subject to parliamentary review.

The SRI works closely with the Guard and Protection Service (SSP), a national law enforcement agency. The SSP is charged with the protection of government officials and foreign diplomats. In cooperation with the Romanian Intelligence Service, the SSP functions as a special action unit for anti-terrorism operations.

The Ministry of the Interior controls Romania's civilian intelligence community. Known as the Securitate, the Department of State Security was the communist-era intelligence agency that worked with the secret police forces to conduct domestic espionage. Post-Cold War democratic reforms dissolved the Securitate and created new agencies, none of which are authorized to conduct espionage activities on Romanian citizens. The Interior Ministry Intelligence Directorate (UM 0251) now directs civilian intelligence and security service operations. The agency is charged with protecting national security. The Gendarmerie, the national police force, aids Romanian intelligence services to insure public safety.

Foreign intelligence is coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE). The Ministry employs its own intelligence force, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). The SIE analyzes external threats to Romanian interests.

The Romanian military operates its own intelligence forces in specially trained units. The Ministry of National Defense coordinates some military intelligence operations through various operational branches. The Special Telecommunications Services specializes in communications security. The Counter-Intelligence Directorate oversees military, and sometimes civilian, counterintelligence operations. The Intelligence Directorate of the Army also operates within the Ministry of National Defense, coordinating operations to assess and preserve national security using military intelligence resources.

SEE ALSO

Cold War (1972–1989): The Collapse of the Soviet Union European Union




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