92793 1/17/2007 12:47 07BUCHAREST52 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 06BUCHAREST1368 VZCZCXRO0098 RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #0052/01 0171247 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 171247Z JAN 07 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5850 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 000052
STATE DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - AARON JENSEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/16/2017 TAGS: PGOV, KCOR, SOCI, KJUS, RO SUBJECT: LUSTRATION: SECURITATE RECORDS HANDED OVER BUT MANY QUESTIONS REMAIN
REF: A. A) 2006 BUCHAREST 1368
B. B) 2006 BUCHAREST 1202
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mark A. Taplin for reasons 1.4 ( b) & (d)
1. (SBU) Summary. President Basescu announced December 29 that the intelligence services have completed the transfer of the archives of the former communist political police, the Securitate, to the National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives (CNSAS). At his urging, the Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) directed that all archives be handed over to the CNSAS before EU accession. However, despite Basescu,s optimistic announcement, more than 100,000 Securitate files reportedly remain in the custody of the intelligence services, still classified as important to "national security.8 Members of CNSAS asserted that the security services have not cooperated fully in the lustration process, shielding some of the worst Securitate perpetrators. The conventional wisdom in Bucharest is that much about the Securitate will never come to light, in large part because many current political figures and security officials still have secrets to hide that date back to the communist period. End summary.
A Clean Slate before EU Accession
2. (SBU) President Traian Basescu visited the headquarters of the Council for the Study of Securitate Archives (CNSAS) just before year's end to announce that the transfer of the Securitate archives had been completed. It is a project the president insisted should be completed before EU accession and one which he had publicly championed. The Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) ordered the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), and the Ministry of Defense (MOD), to complete the transfer of the Securitate archives to the CNSAS by the end of the year. Basescu declared he was taking a direct interest in the issue and would personally check whether the decision would be carried out in time. A few hours before the planned visit of President Basescu to the CNSAS headquarters, all three institutions announced &mission accomplished.8
Many Files Still Hidden or Lost
3. (SBU) However, more than 100,000 Securitate files will remain in the custody of the two main intelligence services. The SRI announced that it would keep under its control 75,000 files with information about counter-espionage and anti-terrorism. SIE director (and former presidential political advisor) Claudiu Saftoiu declared in an interview published December 28 that the SIE retains in its &operative8 archive 27,000 files from the Securitate period. He claimed that access to the content of these files would &compromise ongoing operations.8 However, Basescu remarked December 29 that even these files will be reassessed in the following months by joint committees made up of two representatives of CNSAS and two from the intelligence services. He underlined that &with the CNSAS' agreement,8 the files considered "of national interest" would remain under SRI custody, but all other files will be subjected to the scrutiny of the CNSAS researchers.
4. (SBU) The integrity of the Securitate archives handed over to CNSAS is another controversial issue. Journalists, researchers, and others have noted that files were missing and existing files were incomplete. For example, prominent Romanian dissidents have been told that their files did not exist. The files of politicians recently exposed as former collaborators of the Securitate had missing pages. SIE director Saftoiu acknowledged in his December 28 interview that it is very likely that many files had been destroyed between the collapse of communism in December 1989 and the reestablishment of the Foreign Intelligence Service in February 1990. Basescu acknowledged that he "cannot guarantee that the SRI archive is intact or that no file has been taken out from it since 1990.8
CNSAS Officials Fear Loss of Momentum
5. (C) CNSAS President, Claudiu Secasiu, along with CNSAS member Dragos Petrescu, and the Director of Investigations, Dr. Germina Nagat, told poloff in a December 15 meeting that they routinely found evidence of tampering in the archives and claimed to have proof of at least 1,000 destroyed files. Secasiu also pointed to what he characterized as a broad coalition arrayed against the institution, "with voices from
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the left and right accusing CNSAS of illegitimacy." He complained that politicians have concluded that CNSAS as an institution was "no longer necessary anymore." They also complained of a concerted media effort to discredit the institution's work. Secasiu asserted that the CNSAS had made real progress in the spring of 2006, taking advantage of the arrival of a new government in power and provisions in the law that enabled "indirect lustration" by uncovering former members of the political police by piecing together evidence from files of both collaborators and victims. He argued that the composition of the CNSAS, which includes two representatives from each of the major parties, had "depoliticized" CNSAS decisions on individuals' files -- an assertion with which many political observers in Bucharest would argue. However, relatively few files made reference to current politicians.
6. (C) To illustrate how cumbersome is the process of identifying higher level politicians guilty of political policing, Nagat said she had worked for two years on the recent case of a former minister, piecing together from individual files the code name, evidence of identity, and evidence of political policing. (Note: Though she did not mention the former minister's name, it was understood from the context to be that of former Justice Minister and Senator Rodica Stanoiu.) According to press reports, Stanoiu wrote about 30 "informative notes" to the Securitate about colleagues she worked with during the communist period. Nagat said CNSAS researchers have considerable evidence against former Securitate officers, but that the current law requires the CNSAS not to identify individuals without their birth date and parents' names. She claimed the security services do not want to provide this information because it would lead to more revelations about the role of the former Securitate.
7. (C) Nagat gave Poloff a tour of the CNSAS Department of Investigations, where several dozen young researchers were crammed into a room poring through files and entering pieces of information into a custom-made computer database to facilitate cross-referencing. No electronic or card indexes were available, a major impediment. When asked what type of pressures the investigators felt, Nagat said these recent university graduates were relatively insulated from the political pressures she had felt under the last government. It was only then, she emphasized, that she felt she "could breathe." Sufficient funds were allocated in 2006 to build an archive and the number of researchers was increased to 300, though a request for an additional 120 positions was rejected by the Romanian parliament in November. With almost two million volumes to review, plenty of work remained and the staff appeared to be busy.
Former Securitate officers and informants still active?
8. (C) A former dissident and leading member of the CNSAS board, Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu, argues that there has been &massive destruction8 of the Securitate archives, citing the fact that the CNSAS has "only" received 17 kilometers of archives, whereas in Germany the STASI archive has 176 kilometers. &Was the Romanian Securitate more stupid than the German one?8 he asked rhetorically. Another outspoken member of the CNSAS board, Mircea Dinescu, contested the decision of the intelligence services to classify a sizeable part of the Securitate archives on the grounds of continuing "national interest.8 Dinescu believes, as do other Romanians, that many former informants are still active in a country that he claims employs more intelligence officers now than under Ceausescu.
9. (C) Comment: While President Basescu has championed the release of Securitate archives and the overall de-communization process (reftels), the political class as a whole seems to have concluded that it cannot risk moving further ahead on lustration. Senior Romanian intelligence officials have acknowledged as much to us in informal conversations. Even Liberals like Prime Minister Tariceanu, who initially expected to capitalize politically on the outing of rivals like Senator Mona Musca, were shocked to see how quickly the ad hoc revelations and leaks emanating last summer from the CNSAS spun out of the control of any single party or interest group. Facing a downward spiral of damaging press stories and the spectacle of more prominent figures facing CNSAS "hearings" and the accompanying TV cameras, the major party heads seem to have tacitly agreed to pull back. Liberal deputies, who long championed a lustration law, point to Basescu's surprise choice of opposition Social Democrat George Maior for SRI director as evidence the president has ceded control over the most
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sensitive files to the former communists. Yet Prime Minister Tariceanu's national security advisor, himself a Liberal and scholar specializing in the history of the Securitate, acknowledged to us recently that a proposed new law on lustration was stuck in Parliament with no prospects for it to move forward this year. "I'm sorry to say," he explained, "that my own party does not want to pursue this matter because we cannot risk antagonizing the Social Democrats," whom the Prime Minister must rely on to help him keep his minority government propped up. While the CNSAS is likely to reveal many interesting details about lesser figures in the months ahead, the big political players look to be relatively safe. While the year-end transfer of Securitate files to the CNSAS underscores that politicians and Romania's elite no longer enjoy unchallenged control over the intelligence dossiers, most powerful heads will still rest easy at night. End Comment. TAUBMAN