Hundred forty-fourth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: September 2009)

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Intelligence profile : Romania


The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia , for centuries under the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, secured their autonomy in 1856; they united in 1859 and a few years later adopted the new name of Romania . The country gained recognition of its independence in 1878. It joined the Allied Powers in World War I and acquired new territories - most notably Transylvania - following the conflict. In 1940, Romania allied with the Axis powers and participated in the 1941 German invasion of the USSR . Three years later, overrun by the Soviets, Romania signed an armistice. The post-war Soviet occupation led to the formation of a Communist "people's republic" in 1947 and the abdication of the king. The decades-long rule of dictator Nicolae CEAUSESCU, who took power in 1965, and his Securitate police state became increasingly oppressive and draconian through the 1980s. CEAUSESCU was overthrown and executed in late 1989. Former Communists dominated the government until 1996 when they were swept from power. Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.


Country name : Romania
Capital : Bucharest
Administrative divisions : 1 municipality (municipiu); Bucuresti ( Bucharest) and 41 counties (judete)
    Alba, Arad, Arges, Bacau, Bihor, Bistrita-Nasaud, Botosani, Braila, Brasov, Buzau, Calarasi, Caras-Severin, Cluj, Constanta, Covasna, Dimbovita, Dolj, Galati, Gorj, Giurgiu, Harghita, Hunedoara, Ialomita, Iasi, Ilfov, Maramures, Mehedinti, Mures, Neamt, Olt, Prahova, Salaj, Satu Mare, Sibiu, Suceava, Teleorman, Timis, Tulcea, Vaslui, Vilcea, Vrancea


Military branches:
Land Forces, Naval Forces, Romanian Air Force (Fortele Aeriene Romane, FAR), Special Operations, Defence Intelligence General Directorate.

Defunct security & intelligence agencies

Defunct intelligence agencies:

Departamentul Securitatii Statului (Securitate)
Department of State Security

The Ministry of Interior's Department of State Security (Departamentul Securitatii Statului, popularly known as the Securitate) was the Communist Party of Romania 's secret political police. This organization was shrouded in secrecy, but an increasing number of defections from their ranks shed some light on their composition and activities. The Securitate was responsible for guarding the internal security of the Ceausescu regime and suppressing any unrest, disturbance, or dissident group that criticized or challenged it. The Securitate succeeded in repressing most organized opposition to the regime. Yet spontaneous outbursts of discontent with Ceausescu's "cult of personality," economic austerity policy, treatment of ethnic minorities, anti-religious campaign, and lack of respect for internationally recognized civil and human rights occurred with increasing frequency after the mid-1970s, and ultimately led to the overthrow of the regime.

In 1989 the 7 directorates of the Securitate were the largest component of the Ministry of Interior. They also comprised Eastern Europe's largest secret police establishment in proportion to total population.

The Directorate for Investigations had agents and informants placed in virtually every echelon of the party and government, as well as among the public, to report on the anti-regime activities and opinions of ordinary citizens. It perpetrated illegal entries into public offices and private homes and interrogated and arrested people opposed to Ceausescu's rule. Its agents frequently used force to make dissidents provide information on their compatriots and their activities. According to some prominent dissidents, because of the directorate's influence over judges and prosecutors, no dissident arrested by it had ever been acquitted in court. It worked closely with the Directorate for Surveillance and the Directorate for Mail Censorship. The latter monitored the correspondence of dissidents and ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania. Toward this end, it collected handwriting samples from the population and supervised the official registration of all typewriters and copying machines by the police.

The General Directorate for Technical Operations (Directia Generala de Tehnica Operativa - DGTO) was an integral part of the Securitate's activities. Established with the assistance of the KGB in the mid-1950s, the DGTO monitored all voice and electronic communications in the country. The DGTO intercepted all telephone, telegraph, and telex communications coming into and going out of the country. It secretly implanted microphones in public buildings and private residences to record ordinary conversations among citizens.

The Directorate for Counter-espionage conducted surveillance against foreigners -Soviet nationals in particular -to monitor or impede their contacts with Romanians. It enforced a variety of restrictions preventing foreigners from residing with ordinary citizens, keeping them from gaining access to foreign embassy compounds and requesting asylum, and requiring them to report any contact with foreigners to the Securitate within twenty-four hours.

Directorate IV was responsible for similar counter espionage functions within the armed forces, and its primary mission was identifying and neutralizing Soviet penetrations.

Directorate V and the Directorate for Internal Security focused mainly on party and government leadership cadres. Directorate V provided protective services and physical security for Romanian officials.

Departamentul de Informatii Externe (DIE)
Department of External Information

The Department of External Information (DIE) was Romania 's primary foreign intelligence organization. It worked closely with the Ministry of Interior, the Securitate, and the general staff's Directorate for Military Intelligence

(Directia de Informatii a Armatei - DIA).

The DIE was formed with Soviet assistance in the mid-1950s. Until the early 1960s, Romania sent its intelligence officers to attend a two-year KGB training course in espionage tradecraft near Moscow.

Independent Operative Service (SIO)

The Independent Operative Service (SIO) which functioned within the General Directorate of Penitentiaries (DGP), was special intelligence unit of the Justice Ministry.

Directia de Informatii a Armatei (DIA)
Directorate for Military Intelligence

The DIA was Romania 's military intelligence agency.

Current security & Intelligence agencies

Current situation (2009):

Interior Ministry Intelligence Directorate (UM 0251)

The Interior Ministry Intelligence Directorate (UM 0251) directs civilian intelligence and security service operations. The agency is charged with protecting national security.

Serviciul Român de Informatii (SRI)
Romanian Intelligence Service

The SRI was created on March 26, 1990, by Decree No. 181. It is the official state institution of Romania specialized in gathering national security-related intelligence. The activities are carried out mainly on the national territory but also outside Romania 's borders, in cooperation with other institutions with responsibilities in the field of monitoring and preventing cross-border threats. The SRI reports to the Parliament.

The Romanian Intelligence Service plans and carries out activities aimed at gathering, verifying and processing the information necessary for identifying, preventing and countering actions which may legally constitute threats to Romania 's national security.

Romania 's EU and NATO membership entails additional responsibilities and requires conceptual and functional transformation of the Romanian Intelligence Service, in terms of connection to the dynamics of these organizations and approach to security as an indivisible and cooperative concept.

The SRI operates under Act No. 14/1992 which regulates its duties, competencies and responsibilities. The gathered intelligence is disseminated based on the approval of the Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service.

The SRI has responsibilities in the identification and prevention of activities aimed at launching, organizing, committing or supporting, Communist, Fascist, legionary, racist, anti-Semitic or other extremist activities, as well as instigating to deeds that may endanger the rule of law. The Service monitors all intelligence activities conducted by various natural persons or unauthorized groups, by using, among others, specific wire-tapping means; given national security reasons, the Service is interested in the nature of collected data and information, the methods used and how the citizens fundamental rights can thus be violated.

According to Romania 's National Security Strategy, terrorism stands among the main threats to national security. Thus countering the risk factors triggered by the evolution of international terrorism and its influences on Romania 's security has become a key security objective. A major objective of the SRI is to prevent, through its anti terrorist unit, the threat from turning into a crime against national security, by disrupting all terrorist intentions or logistics and eliminating all vulnerabilities, risks or dangers. Romania 's anti-terrorist activity is centered upon the prevention concept, underpinning the necessity of anticipated identification, by means of intelligence gathering, of all conditions leading to the emergence of a terrorist threat, irrespective of its origin, form and target.

According to a series of internal regulations, the Special Anti terrorist Task Force Unit (USLA) was responsible for all anti-terrorist operations until 1989. In 1990, USLA turned into the Anti terrorist Brigade and became the central intelligence-operational unit of the SRI.

As part of the modernization process of the SRI, the General Directorate for Preventing and Countering Terrorism (DGPCT) became operational within the agency on July 1, 2008. It is a central intelligence-operational unit responsible for planning, organizing and performing prevention, identification, neutralization and annihilation of security risk and threat factors that aim at preparing, initiating and committing terrorist acts or vulnerabilities that can engender this type of acts.

Another responsibility of the SRI is to monitor almost all foreign intelligence services and structures activities in our country, with a special interest in "espionage, remittance of state secrets to a foreign power or organization, or to their agents, illegal procurement and possession of state secret documents or data with a view to transferring them to a foreign power or organization, or to their agents, or with any other aim, unauthorized by law..." (Act No. 51/1991 on the National Security of Romania ).

The Service's main operations include controlling and manipulating identified espionage networks, by the exclusive use of methods implying the isolation and annihilation of foreign intelligence agents.

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 SRI, the SSP functions as a special action unit for anti-terrorism operations.

Serviciului de Informatii Externe (SIE)
Foreign Intelligence Service

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

Its objectives are:

The SIE’s activity is performed according to the Constitution of Romania, the national legislation, the Decisions of the Country’s Supreme Defence Council, and the military regulations. The activity of the service is classified as state secret, therefore the intelligence sources, their methods and means cannot be disclosed to anyone under any circumstances.

The SIE produces data, information, and assessments that are necessary for underpinning national security policies and decisions. They are delivered to the legal customers that have the responsibility to decide on and take appropriate measures.

The SIE is part of the National Intelligence Community (according to Decision no. 146/2005 of the Country’s Supreme Defence Council). The SIE’s Director represents the institution in the Steering Committee of the National Intelligence Community, while the SIE’s Deputy Director for Operations is the delegate of the Service to the Operational Council of the National Intelligence Community. Furthermore, the SIE is present through its specialists and experts in the Integrated Intelligence Office within the Community. The cooperation between the SIE and other national security structures consists of timely exchange of intelligence on subjects of common interest, as well as in other aspects or working means that help to safeguard national security.

Ministerul Apararii Nationale (Ministry of National Defence)
Defence Intelligence General Directorate
Special Telecommunications Service
Counter-intelligence Directorate
Intelligence Directorate of the Army

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.


The Gendarmerie, the national police force, aids Romanian intelligence services to insure public safety.

Guard and Protection Service (SPP)

The Guard and Protection Service (SPP) was established on 07 May 1990 as the Special Guard and Protocol Unit. The service is a new version of the former Directorate V of the Department of State Security, which was in charge of Ceausescu's protection and was formally dismantled days after his overthrow, in December 1989. But SPP is a different entity which inherited neither the structures, nor the equipment of the old Securitate Department. The main task of the service is to ensure anti-terrorist protection for Romanian dignitaries and their foreign guests, and to guard their headquarters and residences. The SPP is an autonomous, military-administrative authority controlled by the parliament and coordinated by the Supreme Council for the Defence of the Country (CSAT).

Related numbers stations

Ciocarlia (Skylark). Enigma code V01. Morse variant: M48. Both are now defunct.

The Skylark was a strange station. It used a Romanian folk song as interval signal, a wild gypsy tune called "Ciocarlia", Skylark in English. The tune lasts almost 3 minutes and was played 2x. The tune was followed by five figure groups in Romanian. The transmissions ended with "terminat, terminat". Most of the time however NUL messages were transmitted. The tune was played twice followed by "terminat terminat terminat" by a male voice and then again 2x the tune and "terminat terminat". Alas, this station is also no longer active.

Enigma code V17: Sent 3 figure groups. Ending with "000". Now defunct.

Sources / further information

Voice stations | Morse stations | Various modes
Military stations | Utlility round-up
Intelligence profile : Romania | Logs
Index | NS NL Home