SIE Director: Romanian espionage service, one of the most valuable in NATO

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Intelligence agencies worldwide are enveloped in an aura of mystery, which the services themselves preserve. Director of Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) of Romania, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, has agreed to partially remove this veil, in an interview for Romania Libera daily, occasioned by the celebration of the 20th anniversary on Monday since the establishment of the intelligence body.

Ungureanu believes SIE has nothing to do with the former Foreign Affairs Department of the communist Securitate. SIE was completely rebuilt, lying now on solid moral grounds, according to his head.
During the 20 years full of problems, expectations, some broken, others only partially fulfilled, full of projects, many of them successful, some failed, SIE has managed to reach a mature age, an energetic adulthood, and not one experiencing no more than boredom and fatigue, said Ungureanu.

SIE is a small institution and it did not become the same bureaucratic as other institutions, so that, during such time of peace, it can do nothing else but grow. Being a small institution, perhaps the smallest of its kind, it promotes quality first and not quantity.
An intelligence service is about crime. The espionage we practice represents a crime anywhere in the world, outside Romania’s borders, the SIE head added. As regards the SIE employees, Ungureanu said: ‘Who is an employee of the SIE responds to the rigors of discipline that work in such a service normally entails.

Those who are former employees, so who are now reservists, or who had been in one way or another in contact with an intelligence service in general, are now free men. Thus, they are to be made responsible for their own actions, with only the body in law to judge his/hers actions after leaving the Service, and not the SIE.’
SIE represents only two percent of what Romania’s representation abroad means, Ungureanu said, referring to the institution’s actions abroad, and while taking into account MAE.

‘Both (SIE and MAE) are institutions with different competencies, which are doing different jobs, but overlapping in effect, in achieving the national interest as it is defined by the Supreme Council for Country Defense (CSAT) or by any other body responsible. The diplomat has a clearly defined power of representation of Romania, publicly assumed, that it is also by gestures, by word and by action.

The diplomat does nothing illegal […] while the spy does nothing in the spirit of respecting the laws of other states. He collects information by speculating situations or characters. He collects information the diplomat does not have access to, for it is confidential, because it has a limited range of movement and it is important. The spy does not negotiate …

The spy does not sign bilateral treaties or multilateral agreements, said Ungureanu. Referring to the cooperation between SIE and NATO, Ungureanu said that ‘ the current structure of the intelligence service of Romania is rated by external grilles as being one of the most efficient in the North-Atlantic Alliance.

The appreciation of professional success coming from the outside, corroborated with how the service is nowadays seen, in its strong partnerships with other services, and also in relationships with other intelligence services worldwide – more than 100 -, shows that SIE has recently left behind the stage of hesitation and professional inconsistency. By far!

As regards the CSAT decision to accept elements of U.S. missile shield in Romania, Ungureanu said the decision is relevant from at least two perspectives: the strong and tangible content of a strategic importance of the bilateral relationship between Romania and the United States of America and the strategic partnership having a strong security component.

Secondly, it reveals Romania do counts at geopolitical level, from the viewpoint of defense interests of NATO member states. It is an admirable result, prepared by previous gestures, corresponding to the logic of formation and deepening of the strategic partnership Romania-U.S., starting with the presence of the U.S. troops in Romanian military bases and ending with installing missile systems.

Let us remember there was a debate at the NATO Summit in Bucharest on how NATO can provide missile protection for all member states. Geographical and logistical reasons made the outcome of the debate back then not satisfactory for us. The CSAT decision increases security, while it represents a strong response to the existing risks.

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