Romanian intelligence services seeking more powers
In Romania, the powers of both the domestic and foreign intelligence services SRI and SIE are to be expanded. According to a draft law presented by the two agencies which was leaked to the press, they would no longer be subject to parliamentary control, and would be able to set up companies themselves and be granted immunity for their intelligence officers, among other things. The national press views the initiative with suspicion.
A bid to regain control
In Observatorul Cultural, political scientist Cristian Pîrvulescu feels reminded of the notorious Securitate from the days of Ceaușescu:
“Even if the form of the legislative package changes significantly before the government presents it to parliament for a vote, the mere fact that it has been proposed is already a symptom of the illiberal temptation that seems to be prevailing as a standard in the world of the Romanian intelligence agencies. The efforts to contol society and the economy as the former Securitate did reveal an aversion both to liberal democracy and the protection of basic freedoms and especially to the rule of law and the promotion of human rights.”
Covert take-over of power looming
Journalist Sabina Fati issues a warning in the Romanian Service of Deutsche Welle:
“The intelligence agencies are not democratic institutions. ... If they have the opportunity to gain strenght, they take over power using more or less sophisticated methods using agents they have everywhere - including the political and business communities and the press. The current laws already allow the domestic intelligence agency (SRI) to have covert companies, independent administrations, hospitals and non-governmental organisations. The foreign intelligence agency (SIE) does not have those options, but nobody forbids such activities, which in any case cannot be controlled by the parliament. ... These privileges continue to be part of the legislative package, along with proposals for many more.”