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Romanian Intelligence Service

Romanian Intelligence Service
Serviciul Român de Informații
Agency overview
Formed March 26, 1990
Preceding agency
Headquarters Bd. Libertății nr. 14D, sector 5, Bucharest
Employees Classified (reported as between 3000-12000)
Annual budget RON 1.39 billion / EUR 314 million (2014)
Agency executives
  • Lieutenant General Florian Coldea (interim)[1], Director
  • Lieutenant General George-Viorel Voinescu, Deputy Director
  • Major General Ion Grosu, Deputy Director
  • Lieutenant General Dumitru Cocoru, Deputy Director

The Romanian Intelligence Service (Romanian: Serviciul Român de Informații, abbreviated SRI) is Romania's main domestic intelligence service. Its role is to gather information relevant to national security and hand it over to relevant institutions, such as Government, presidency and law enforcement departments and agencies. The service is gathering intelligence by ways such as signals intelligence (SIGINT), open source intelligence (OSINT) and human intelligence (HUMINT).


  • History 1
    • Creation 1.1
    • Securitate archives 1.2
    • Involvement in the Mineriad 1.3
    • Phone tapping 1.4
    • Relationship with the press 1.5
    • Known operations 1.6
  • National Alert System 2
  • Resources 3
    • Personnel 3.1
    • The Anti-Terrorist Brigade 3.2
    • Budget 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5



In 1865, the Great Chief of Staff of Romania created (inspired by the French system) the 2nd Section (Sectia a II-a) to gather and analyze military intelligence.[2]

By 1925, after several years of efforts, Mihail Moruzov managed to convince the Chief of Staff about the necessity of a secret service that uses civilian employees to gather intelligence for the military.[2]

In 1940 it was founded as the Special Service of Intelligence (Serviciul Special de Informatii), with Eugen Cristescu as director.[2]

Through the communist period, the service was used as an oppressive instrument against the anti-communists and other intolerable social categories. The Securitate ("Security") was the political police that was involved in repressing dissent. During the Romanian Revolution, soon after taking power, Ion Iliescu signed the decree which integrated the Securitate into the Ministry of Defense, thus bringing it under his control.[3]

Iulian Vlad, the head of the Security, together with some of his deputies, were arrested on December 31, 1989; Iliescu named Gelu Voican Voiculescu as the new head of the Securitate.[4] Voiculescu assured the Securitate agents that he does not intent to wage a war against individual Securitate officers and, by mid-January 1990, the Securitate officers continued their activity in their old headquarters.[4] The press was informed (but not allowed to verify) that the equipment for tapping phones has been decommissioned.

The Romanian Intelligence Service was officially created on March 26, 1990, taking over the buildings, staff, equipment and virtually everything that belonged to the Securitate.[4] Its creation occurred only a few days following the ethnic clashes of Târgu Mureș, being quickly created through a decree. Its first director was Virgil Măgureanu.[4]

Securitate archives

SRI inherited Securitate's archives and it has been accused of destroying parts of it or supplying sensitive parts to certain politicians.

On June 22, 1990, SRI officers unloaded a truck full of Securitate documents in a forest in Berevoești, Argeș County, after which they buried them with soil.[4] The documents intended to be destroyed were discovered by locals and, a year later, a group of journalists began digging the decaying documents and the România Liberă newspaper published several of them, including information on dissidents, being not only Securitate, but also of the newly created SRI.[4] This led to the adoption of a law on state secrets, which banned publication of any SRI documents.[4]

It was only in 2005 that the archives of the Securitate began to be transferred to an outside institution (CNSAS) with a first batch containing two-thirds of the total number of documents.[5] The goal was to transfer all Securitate documents which "do not affect national security".[6]

Involvement in the Mineriad

The extent of the involvement of the Romanian Intelligence Service in the violent repression of the 1990 anti-government protests has been a matter of debate. On June 12, 1990, the government decided that the Police and Army, in collaboration with the Intelligence Service, evacuate the protesters of University Square.[7] During the violence that followed, the protesters attacked the headquarters of the Romanian Intelligence Service with rocks and Molotov cocktails.[7]

The following days, miners brought by the government from the

  • (Romanian) Official site
  • (Romanian) Chronology
  • (English) Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Larry L. Watts: Control and Oversight of Security Intelligence in Romania PDF
  • (English), The Romanian Secret Services, Politics and the Media: a Strategic Overview

External links

  1. ^ "Conducerea SRI". Romanian Intelligence Service (in Romanian). 
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ Monitorul Oficial, December 25, 1989
  4. ^ a b c d e f g  
  5. ^ "Doua treimi din arhivele Securitatii vor fi transferate la CNSAS".  
  6. ^ Romanian Intelligence Service, Comunicat de presă
  7. ^ a b c Miclescu, Corneliu (June 13, 2007). "Şaptesprezece ani de la 'mineriada' din iunie 1990".  
  8. ^ Ciliac, Alexandra (June 17, 2013). "Mineriada din 1990 a fost ORCHESTRATĂ de Virgil Măgureanu. Fostul șef SRI e acuzat în dosar".  
  9. ^ Ruscior, Cosmin (June 14, 2010). "Voinea : Mineriada, un act terorist al instituţiilor represive ale statului".  
  10. ^ "Iliescu, iertat definitiv pentru Mineriada".  
  11. ^ a b c d "Constantin Bucur si Mircea Toma, despagubiti de CEDO, in urma unor interceptari SRI".  
  12. ^ "România plătește la CEDO telefoanele ascultate în țară", Apador-CH, January 10, 2013
  13. ^, The GIP President, Mugur Ciuvică: SRI snoops on the National Liberal Party at Băsescu's orders
  14. ^ a b c d Timpanul" SRI costă cât bugetul Culturii""".  
  15. ^ a b c "ICCJ: Dinu Patriciu va primi 50.000 de lei despagubiri de la SRI, pentru ca i-au fost ascultate ilegal telefoanele".  
  16. ^ "Câteva cazuri de ofiţeri acoperiţi din presa românească". Cațavencii. September 5, 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Băleanu, Virgil George (1996). A Clear and Present Danger to Democracy: The New Romanian Security Services are Still Watching.  
  18. ^ a b c "SRI, ia-ti cartitele din presa!".  
  19. ^ a b "Redactor-şef de la "Jurnalul Naţional", dat afară pentru colaborare cu SRI".  
  20. ^ "George Maior, directorul SRI: presa ne împiedică să ne facem activitatea și ne expune pericolului terorist".  
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ a b c "Mai mulţi ofiţeri de informaţii pe cap de locuitor decât în perioada comunistă".  
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
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  32. ^


  • 2008: 1039 million lei[25]
  • 2009: 1032 million lei[26]
  • 2010: 957 million lei[27]
  • 2011: 907 million lei[28]
  • 2012: 989 million lei[29]
  • 2013: 1043 million lei[30]
  • 2014: 1100 million lei[31]
  • 2015: 1392 million lei[32]


Also, the brigade is providing security on all important airports from Romania and members of the brigade are working as air marshals on all Romanian flights.

The size of the brigade is classified, but it is known that the unit has in ranks the best operatives from the Romanian military and law enforcement sector. Most of them are athletes, with excellent results in sports such as boxing, karate, rugby, judo and other combat sports.

Eight USLA members were killed during the Romanian Revolution in December 1989.

The Anti-Terrorist Brigade (Brigada Antitero), also known as BAT is SRI`s Special Actions Unit and the main anti-terrorist unit from Romania. Created during the mid `70s (as a response to the 1972 Munich Massacre) under the name of ARTA, the unit has changed its name later into The Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (USLA - Unitatea Specială de Luptă Antiteroristă).

The Anti-Terrorist Brigade

The main gate to enter the intelligence service is the National Intelligence Academy (Academia Naţională de Informaţii „Mihai Viteazul) from Bucharest.[24]

To become an employee of the SRI, a person has to fulfill several conditions, including having Romanian citizenship, matching the age criteria, clean criminal record and no serious medical conditions. If so, the person is allowed in the recruitment process. This process consists of background checks, medical exams, aptitude tests, personality tests, physical fitness tests and a paper exam (for example, a general knowledge test).[21]

The Romanian Intelligence Service is a Romania.[23]



The color has only been changed once (to red-high) at the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit.

Currently, SNA is colored blue-cautious; this means that the intelligence on hand suggests there is a relatively low risk of a terrorist attack.

The National Alert System (Sistemul Național de Alertă Teroristă in Romanian) is the Romanian terrorist barometer. SNA is a system that, based on existing intelligence from SRI, SIE and possibly other agencies, ranks the risk of a terrorist attack on Romanian territory. The system is color based (green-low to red-imminent). The color can be changed (and therefore security measures increased) with the prior approval of the executive of SRI.

National Alert System

On 28 February 2008, the Romanian counter-intelligence officers arrested a Bulgarian military attache, Petar Marinov Zikolov, and a Romanian NCO, Floricel Achim. They have been prosecuted with charges of espionage. It is believed that the leaked information might have been sent to Russia or Ukraine. The Bulgarians have denied any connection with Zikolov. This has been one of the few espionage cases that have received media attention.

In March 2005, three Romanian journalists were kidnapped in Iraq by unknown abductors (later described as members of the Muadh ibn Jabal Brigades) in the Baghdad's al-Mansur district. A few weeks after being kidnapped, the terrorists broadcast a tape on Al-Jazeera stating that they would kill the journalists if Romania did not withdraw its 860 troops from Iraq. However, due to efforts of the Romanian intelligence community and the collaboration between several intelligence agencies, the group were freed on May 23, 2005, when they were placed in the hands of the Romanian Embassy in Baghdad. It is believed that Florian Coldea (the current deputy director of the SRI) coordinated the rescue operation.

Known operations

In 2013, George Maior, the Director of the Service, accused the press of organizing an attack campaign against the Romanian Intelligence Service, giving as example the investigations over the illegal CIA prisons in Bucharest (Bright Light), which he argued that is exposing Romania to terrorist attacks.[20]

The Jurnalul Național newspaper fired its editor-in-chief, Valentin Zaschievici, in August 2012, accusing him of being an infiltrated SRI agent, following the leak of some SRI documents by Cotidianul.[19] The Romanian Intelligence Service admitted that the documents were indeed genuine, but it claimed that their agent was only monitoring the leaking of secret documents to the press.[19]

The existence of infiltrated SRI agents in the press has been publicly known since 2006, when the press officer of SRI claimed that the Service has always had moles in the Romanian press arguing that it's not illegal.[18] This claim has been quite controversial, as, according to Cristian Tudor Popescu, journalists are not a threat to national security[18] and, according to historian Marius Oprea, this leads to suspicions about whether the SRI has political police activities.[18]

An early controversy occurred in 1996, when Tana Ardeleanu (a journalist for Ziua who had published some articles about President Ion Iliescu) had been shadowed by SRI agents.[17] Amid press anger, SRI director Virgil Măgureanu admitted that SRI agents followed Ardeleanu and argued that the surveillance was a "mistake" and that the agents thought they were following two suspected spies.[17]

The Romanian Intelligence Service had an uneasy relationship with the press, which it monitored, infiltrated and accused of being a national security liability. In 2010, "the press" has been included in the list of national vulnerabilities in the "National Strategy for the Defence of the Country".[16]

Relationship with the press

In 2006, a new illegal wiretapping scandal erupted after transcripts of businessman Dinu Patriciu's phone discussions with his associates were leaked to the press.[15] Patriciu sued the Intelligence Service and won a compensation of 50,000 lei in 2011.[15] A further case of potentially illegal wiretappings is the one of European Court of Human Rights judge Corneliu Bîrsan, whose wiretappings under the guise of "national security" are now being investigated by a parliamentary commission created by the Romanian Senate on April 8, 2013.[15]

[14] For the year 2005, a number of 6370 phones belonging to 2373 people were tapped, the average tapping being of 220 days.[14] According to

The president of the Group of Political Investigations (a Romanian organization that independently monitors the activity of state agencies), Mugur Ciuvică, has stated that he has evidence of ongoing illegal phone tappings.[13]

Mircea Toma, one of the journalists whose phone had been tapped also sued the Romanian state for wiretapping and preserving private conversations with his daughter, Sorana. He also won a compensation the disrespect of the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.[11] The Romanian Intelligence Service refused to collaborate with the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that its documents are state secrets.[12]

In 1996, a former SRI employee, Constantin Bucur was the whistleblower who alerted the media that the Romanian Intelligence Service was performing illegal phone tappings of politicians, journalists and other public figures.[11] Bucur was convicted for revealing top secret information,[11] but he won a trial against the Romanian state after appealing at the European Court of Human Rights.[11]

Phone tapping

During the 2000s, Virgil Măgureanu, the head of the SRI at the time, has been investigated by prosecutors (together with other leaders including President Ion Iliescu) for several counts including genocide and torture, however they decided in 2009 not to charge him with any crime.[10]

[9], who said that all the miner groups were escorted by police and SRI agents who led them to the headquarters of parties and NGOs.Dan Voinea This view is supported by military prosecutor [8]

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