The next interview appeared in România Liberă and was recorded by Marian Garleanu.
SRI – Romanian Intelligence Service
DNA – National Anti-Corruption Division
It is so simple and obvious what happened at Astra Insurance that it is very clear that the Services are involved, says the former officer of the Romanian Intelligence Service who recently launched a series of press releases about the Romanian power institutions.
RL: In Timisoara, SRI Director Eduard Hellvig recently said that “SRI ended any connection with the pre-1989 bad past and that the whole activity is governed by principles and values that we respect in every circumstance, the most important being the citizen’s law and security.” Do you think so, is the SRI’s civilian chief honest?
Colonel (s) Daniel Dragomir: I always start from the premise of good faith. And I have no reason to doubt Mr. Hellvig’s honesty. Moreover, lately, I have also noticed from the outside that there (at SRI) are some changes. And first of all, changes for the better, namely the retirements not only of the generals but also of many middle management men, Colonel, lt. Colonel, which are not seen outside the Service. Yes, I think Mr. Hellvig is sincere.
But there is a need for internal “cleansing” at SRI, whether it is done through internal mechanisms, or that it is done with the SRI Control Commission, or that it is done in a wider context, this cleansing must exist. My attitude towards this change from the inside is the following: no one is interested in any of the themes of vengeance today; there is no way to have revenge themes. But we must act so that the abuses that have happened do not happen again. This is the purpose of my approach.
RL: we may understand that if the SRI is reformed in the way you want it, you may return to the Service.
I think it’s impossible, because I have a file on court.
RL: In which you could be acquitted.
Okay, I’m presenting the current situation, but I can add that I will be with the SRI and anyone who will be interested in knowing what has happened there. And especially in the Service’s approach of reforming and directing things, where they can be reformed.
RL: But how much of this truth can we find out and how much of it is cosmetized?
I have chosen the clear, transparent and democratic way. I was asked by the Parliament and I told the Commission what I knew, things that had happened in the SRI during Coldea. I submitted documents and I described some events and facts, I indicated people who could be heard, all of which could be evidence.
And I have chosen the option of the Control Commission, which is the only one authorized by the law to work with classified documents. None of the discussions in the Commission was against the SRI. But the members of the Commission should go and ask for details of what I have reported, so that those who committed abuses – if they did – to be held responsible. And if there are gaps in legislation that allowed these abuses to be directed.
RL: You talked about “corridors” and covered companies during Coldea. What do you think about what happened to Astra Insurance, the largest company of its kind in Romania, competing with the largest European companies in the field.
I cannot give names of covered companies. What I tried to do, talking about “corridors”, was to show a mechanism. To show how some things were done in the system.
I saw a post on Facebook regarding the Romprest file, which describes such a mechanism and in detail the intervention of intelligence services within a private company. How was the Prosecutor’s Office reached and how these channels and tools were used to determine the authorities’ reaction against a company for a hostile takeover of a firm, in that case.
It is so simple and obvious what happened at Astra Insurance that it is very clear about this involvement of the Services.
RL: Astra was the largest Romanian company in the field, which also acquired AXA Romania, but this commercial act was brutally interrupted …
This is about involving intelligence services in the economic environment – just taking the Astra Insurance case – a very damaging issue. Intelligence services always have their own way to see things, not necessarily through the former Securitate, but through the Service, it is an etatist manner.
And an unnatural way of seeing these issues. This is because the intelligence service when it enters the market and starts playing – that is the insurance market or the sanitation market – disturbs the entire market because it uses its information, its power, its connections and its relations with the judiciary. Because we have strictly secret protocols with Justice that we do not know what they contain. This game results in the vitiation of the economic space and the victims that can be patrons or firms. It is the effect of the snowball that makes many victims.
RL: There is a victim in his own right in this case – Dan Grigore Adamescu died during detention. How do you comment?
The situation seems absolutely tragic to me and we see in this case that when a person becomes a target and the state with the full weight of its institutions – intelligence services, prosecutions, interceptions, filaments, investigations on the “corridors” of Justice, influencing the tactical field in the judges’ – What chances does a man have ?!
In this case, public opinion must understand that the fight against corruption has been sold under a very detrimental PR package, that we, DNA plus SRI, take the rich and put them in jail, and as a result you will have prosperity and especially -satisfaction. Satisfaction that comes from a natural human thing caused by envy: let the neighbor’s goat die too!
But the results are: destroyed companies, people left homeless, people who die in prison, inflated damages that look very good on paper, and in reality, when they reach the court, they do not exist.
RL: How do you see the annual DNA reports?
After all, these reports are of the Communist kind. I can’t imagine there is somewhere in Europe any Prosecutor’s Office coming out with a report to boast about how many people were put to jail. If they want to make such a report, this institution must first report the accused damages and then the recovered percentage. I speak of their finality in court.
RL: “România liberă” was a target of the nomenclature?
I have said this, all media areas were targeted! Because these people did not have and do not have any respect for freedom of expression, for freedom in general and for democracy. And I’m talking about the two ends of the nomenclature, Coldea and Kövesi. They tried to control everything, or when this control did not work-whatever the publication or TV – they either tried to take over and subvert them, or to destroy them.
RL: Do you think Victor Ponta has any role in the pressure on “România liberă” or Dan Adamescu?
I’m not going to talk about politicians here.
RL: We ask these questions to understand more deeply what happened after the statements made by the then premier, Ponta, referring to Dan Grigore Adamescu and to “România liberă”. The statements that led to the death of a man and a DNA file.
Exactly, this targeting operation is finally observed. Because things are already very clear, we are no longer talking about searching and finding the truth. Or about bringing the facts to justice. Here it is very clear that it is a personal matter because these people (the SRI head and the DNA) treat all these things personally instead of treating them institutionally, as the law requires and demands.
RL: Do you think the Hexi Pharma episode was part of a SRI struggle with SIE, as speculated in the media?
I’d like to think it’s not a bustle or a set-up of accounts between the two services, I’d like to think it’s not that. Because otherwise we should expand the discussion more. So, besides the involvement of the Service in the economic area, there should be more actors and then the size of the disaster would be extremelybig.
What I can tell you is that the relationships, connections of the owner -Hexi Pharma with the Service (SRI) were in the field of evidence. We are talking here about the data we have: a workplace of a company in an institution building (SRI) has to be approved by a very strict mechanism. So, nobody can say that they did not know that there was a commercial relationship of SRI with that company, a company that is thoroughly checked to avoid any damage to the Service. And the presence of that company’s headquarters in a SRI building cannot be denied. They knew very well what was done there.
RL: Do you think Dan Condrea, the owner of Hexi Pharma, is dead now?
I cannot get into speculation and I’m not the speculator man. I trust the authorities in the sense that an investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office was made at the scene of the accident. I’m going back to the premise that things have been checked. I have no way of knowing if he’s dead or not.
RL: Are there any press trusts you have not nominated and who are suspected of collaborating with SRI-DNA nomenclature?
There are also media areas that I have not nominated for the moment. I wanted to start by showing that media corridor I know and I saw it with my eyes. And I try to explain to people that they understand how things were going on. The media “corridors” related to the justice “corridors”can be seen through the concrete cases of people called to the DNA.
When I speak of the “corridors” I refer to that military term when, when you entered the corridor, you were struck from different parts you knew or did not know. Until the man arrived at the DNA, until his accusations were made or until he signed first paper of the indictment, in the media, on these corridorsand using these tools, data from the file, interceptions were given. Who did these things? Someone at the top put at the disposal of media tools non-public data.
People were publicly hit and denigrated, in such a way that when they were in front of a judge, he had already had an opinion. The motives of preventive arrests such as “public opinion is aware of these facts, and if the state does not act firmly, it will be left to the impression that the state is not strong”.
The public opinion was used as the basis of preventive arrests because the new Criminal Code allows this way of working. In fact, the public opinion was manipulated through this media corridors, but also to force the judge through this media pressure. 99% of the court’s motivations for pre-trial detention were based on this.
RL: Returning to the Astra Insurance issue, several bribery facts have been unveiled in KPMG, including the Microsoft file, in the international media. KPMG would be the basis for the so-called “tax optimization,” which is actually a masked bribe?
Tax optimization is invented outside Romania. Romanians are only service culprits. As far as Microsoft is concerned, I have drawn attention to the fact that things are very serious on two levels.
- The involvement of the American parent company in the fraud issue in Romania was up to the highest level, up to one of Bill Gates’s deputies.
- In Florica and Pescariu cases, things are not clear. We notice that a new file is being sued, a file disjoint from the big one. But Mr. Florica and Pescariu must give some explanations for some at least occult nomenclature connections; how were they not asked for 2-3 years, how did they remain with the money and were considered good-faith denunciators, although the file had existed long before they appeared at the DNA? One day we will find out who brought the two to the DNA, and how those dealings were made behind the closed doors, what was given and what was taken as a bribe.
RL: How come that Realitatea TV, Mediafax, Astra Insurance had or have had KPMGas a legaland / or special administrator? Astra Insurance even had KPMG as insolvency administrator, how is this company so present on the Romanian market?
Yes, indeed, this question raises many questions, but here I think state institutions should do their duty.
RL: Do you still claim that MP Cezar Preda, member of the SRI Control Commission, should be arrested?
Decision 30 of 1993 of the Romanian Parliament, which establishes the regulation by which the Commission works, at art. 13-14 states that all of the Commission’s activity has a “state secret” character. But Mr. Deputy Cezar Preda came out publicly and declared that I would have indicated in the hearings from the Commission two people: Coldea and Dumbrava.
Thus, Mr. Preda sent a message to other people, “stay quiet, it’s just the two of you.” Moreover, he brought up the nomination of the two made by me in front of the Commission. I will notify the Commission and I will show that Mr Preda, underart. 297 and 303 of the PCN, falls within the scope of abuse of office and the disclosure of State secrets by illegally handling the information in the Commission. I will ask the competent authorities to take the necessary measures with Mr Preda. Why did I say he should be arrested? Because I was arrested, being accused of this latest offense, classified information disclosure!
I was six months and a half arrested for this reason at the request of DNA. Subsequently, at the merits, I was acquitted for this offense, now the case being in the appeal.
When a citizen is accused of classified information disclosure, he is immediately arrested, and when Mr Preda comes out publicly and discloses state secret information, nothing happens. It does not seem normal to me.
RL: From what we have seen in the media, we understand that you are decorated by the CIA on ANTITERO issues with the highest US military distinction reserved for foreigners. What’s the name of the decoration?
The decoration I received from the US authorities is not public.
RL: Having been responsible for the AntiTero sector for years, can you tell us what happened on January 24, 2006 during the festivities occasioned by the Union of Principalities in Focşani? Then, in the hydrant of the Vrancea Prefecture, an artillery explosive device is said to have been found during the visit of President Traian Basescu. The fact was confirmed by the presidential adviser on national security issues, Sergiu Medar.
There really was an event on the anti-terrorist area, the teams of pyrotechnic specialists dealt with the case, these not being in my subordination at that time. I think the DIICOT investigation went pretty well, and the Service provided the investigation with everything that it had as information, I do not know anymore.
RL: Why do you think that explosive devicewas placed and by whom? Was it intended to intimidate the President of Romania?
I do not know what to say, I’m not in the speculation area.
RL: What is the most serious threat to Romania’s national security today?
The most serious threat comes from this area of terrorism. It has become unnoticed that more and more migrant groups are heading for this Romanian corridor. If until now we had security and peace in this country is because the intelligence services involved in the AntiTero area, and especially the SRI, did their job very well. And imagine that this happened while LLC-Coldea headed for other areas – which we see now – that did not hold on to the national interest, but more on his personal interest.
Think about how much human and material resources have been allocated to the so-called “anti-corruption struggle”, during which the real threats to national security have not been properly dealt with. Today we see that only because of the professionalism of the people involved in the AntiTero battle we have managed to keep things under control. But now we have a huge threat: the routes and corridors that come from the Mediterranean, Turkey or the Balkans and go to the West, are constantly moving to Romania. These paths converge with organized crime, trafficking in human beings, cigarettes, drugs, etc. And our Western partners realize this threat.
RL: Where does the threat come from?
Basically after 2003, after the fall of Baghdad, the ISIS group was recovering force by extracting its power from the former Al-Qaida. After the fighting in 2003-2004 in Fallujah, this organization was blocked in Iraq, with an influx of migrants called generic BLEED OUT at that time. In this bleed out, many Al-Qaida fighters left Iraq on different routes in Western Europe.
The same phenomenon is happening today, but it is 100 times more dangerous because the forces of the Islamic State are much better prepared. And the forces are also composed of citizens carrying passports of Western countries and not subject to border control. These fighters are well versed in Western counterinformation techniques and benefit from very large financial resources resulting from the sale of oil.
The fact that Romania remains an active partner of the AntiTero Western services makes our country a target.
Indeed, the image targets are those in the western countries: England, France, Spain. But do not imagine that if a target of opportunity appears, it will not be used by these fighters. I come and say that SRI must be strengthened in this area and come back within its constitutional activities, important for the national security and the safety of the Romanian citizen: the AntiTero area, the cross-border crime area. And at the same time, to forget about the mists of the past, such as involvement in political, economic and underground games of any kind. This nomenclature that Coldea and Kovesi lead, did and has done much harm to Romania.
RL: How do you explain that this “nomenclature” – how you call it- is and was supported by the ambassadors of the Western countries, especially the US ambassador, Hans Klemm?
His Excellency, Ambassador Klemm was appointed by a US Democratic Administration. And one of the questions to ask is: is Romania’s current policy being set by the current Trump Administration or by other circles? I say that for the moment there are other circles especially in the US Department of State area, which are circles with old people. The situation in the US is similar to that in Romania: Trump is also struggling with a Deep state and a nomenclature. President Trump realizes that within the intelligence services there were interests that were not of the country, so the situation is similar to that of Romania. But I’m optimistic, and I think things will be positive.
RL: Do you think that former SIE chief Catalin Harnagea is right when he states that we are in the situation of Mexico, where the FBI has planted people in state institutions to achieve its goals?
It would be very serious if it were. If Mr Harnagea’s statements were true, it would really be a major national security issue. What I know is that this cooperation of the SRI with all the Western services is very good and it is vital for the Romanian state. National security can no longer be done in today’s world like in Ceausescu’s time. The defense of the Romanian state can only be done today through these partnerships.
I do not think the CIA and the FBI are involved in justice matters. However, cooperation on the area of prevention of threats to Romania’s national security with these services is highly developed and necessary.
RL: Are you a covered officer of any foreign intelligence service?
RL: Do you consider yourself a target at this time?
Of course I’m a target.
RL: Are you afraid for your life?