The reasons are clear, the disclosure is not at all a concern of the officers in these services, on the contrary. Rarely, such a character has made a decisive contribution to placing a totally unknown chapter, but of the utmost importance for the public, in the light. There are, however, rare exceptions. Like the one constituted by the disclosures made in General Cornel Biris' interview given to General Petru Neghiu for the Periscop Magazine, a publication of the Association of Military Cadres in Reserves and Withdrawal from the Foreign Intelligence Service.
To be very clear from the start, for more than 30 years, the foreign intelligence officer Cornel Biriş, has worked in the most secret unit of any espionage service in the world: the one called "The Ghosts". When he was discharged in 2002, he was the head of this unit.
But not just about the specifics of this activity, working with the "ghosts," General Cornel Biriş speaks in his interview, but also about other totally unknown issues. Some, tremendously important, such as the betrayal of "ghost" officers by the heads from Central Intelligence, their disclosure to counter-espionage services in the countries in which they acted, the abolition of the "Ghost" Unit by Ioan Talpeş, and about the participation of a Romanian external intelligence officer in assassination missions, will surprise to the fullest.
Just as they surprised me a few years ago, when I found them, while having a coffee, from General Cornel Biris, a character who honors me with his 25-year-old sympathy, since my colleague Dan Andronic introduced us. Over the course of a few episodes, we will enter the themes approached by General Cornel Biriş, signaling the passages taken from the interview published in the Periscop Magazine, but also intervening with explanations to clarify issues, as I said above, unknown to the general public.
From 1971 to 2002, General Cornel Biriş served in the Foreign Intelligence Service, within the most secret department of State Security, the Brigade "U" ("The Ghosts"). Within this "special brigade", he was involved in the training and direction of fully conspirators officers, the "ghosts," as well as officers who recruited, trained and kept in touch "ghosts". But what is that, a ghost officer?
It is the most precious, both literally and figuratively, capital of an external intelligence service. "The fully conspired officer," or "ghost," as he is called, is the foreign intelligence officer most often sent under a false identity, obviously, other than his own, in a foreign country, in order to carry out espionage operations in impenetrable environments by classical means.
Firth death, second life
To avoid suspicion from counter-espionage services in the countries where he was placed, the "ghost" officer training process was an extremely laborious one, in which even the slightest mistakes in training were not allowed, because any mistake could be fatal. Practically, the one who started on this road ended his first existence. Hence the name of "ghost" given to this absolutely special professional category.
"Dead" in his first life, the officer was stepping into the second. The Renaissance meant that he had to learn everything he would have known if he really was the citizen who would claim to be. From the language he would master to perfection, like a native, to the knowledge of topographies, laws and habits of the place, from acquiring all knowledge of the country and the people in the midst of which he would live, to memorizing all the information that any native knew about his country and his land, the "ghost" officer had to integrate perfectly into the environment in which he was to be implanted, not to differ from the rest of the citizens there. Any mismatch any stridence, any suspicion, could compromise the mission, and put him in prison for decades.
Long polished diamonds
Even from this brief presentation, it is easy to deduce the thoroughness with which a "ghost" was built, as well as the importance that this category of intelligence officers represents in spying activity.
About these "long polished diamonds", as were called the ghost officers by a legendary head of an intelligence service, General Cornel Biris also speaks in the interview from which we quote:
"Why" ghosts "or" shadows "? The notion is given by the absolutely necessary fact that the activity of selection, employment, training, assignment and liaison with this kind of officers is carried out under strict conspiracy. Their identity was known by a small number of officers in the Central, namely the "instructor officer" (who was also in touch with him during the mission) and by his bosses strictly hierarchical.
Often, their number was substantially reduced, in fact, the true identity was known, in a few cases, by all the bosses. The documents from which the identity of these officers arose were kept only by the "instructor officer".
I would define such a structure: "The tip of a lance" of an external intelligence service that has the mission of penetrating informative-operative objectives, organizations, environments, or any other form of organization in which line structures cannot enter informative. Also, this unit uses methods and means specific to the purpose for which it functions, having an absolutely independent organization and structure, being equipped with specially trained personnel. "
A suggestive image
"To break the monotony of my narratives, I wish to tell you a little story that was told in the 1970s to all newcomers in the unit. To their question what "ghosts" are, the story they were told was that the structure of external information is like a sailing ship, but also paddle, sailing on the oceans of the world. When the wind did not inflate the sails of the ship, the "ghosts" lying down in the gallows had to struggle to push the ship into its path. From the deck often came yelps of joy, clink of champagne glasses, and glimpses of diplomatic chatters. The "ghosts" below were not allowed to take part in such actions. In the air they were seldom taken, and only on moonless nights, so in darkness."
Asked about the main features and qualities with which a "ghost" officer had to be endowed, General Cornel Biriş proves to be an outdated man when responding among others, but first, "a good patriot": "The answer must be emphasized from the beginning of the activity of such an officer. All requirements are equally important, and they must be met in their entirety. Very briefly, we could enumerate the following qualities:
- a good patriot, with a strong spirit of love for the country, for the nation and the people;
- good training in the basic specialty that can enable him to evolve in the destination space and objectives, where he can access the information of interest;
- a perfect behavior and morality in the family, society and any community they attend;
- skills for conducting an informative activity from the positions for which he / she is trained, power for analysis and synthesis of the data and facts of operative interest he/she is confronted with, sociability and perseverance;
- skills and real inclinations necessary for his personal protection and the activity he will perform, self-mastery, courage and resilience to prolonged physical and psychological pressures.
Full coverage must be free of any cracks, as a slight dearth on this line may cause disaster at some point. There have been cases where, after years and years of efforts to prepare such officers, we had to give up due to mistakes that occurred along the way and could not be overlooked. Likewise, there have been cases when some officers have been withdrawn from the outside of the mission, as cracks have appeared in line with preserving their conspiracy. Here, in fact, it's like in aviation: one can only be wrong, once."Citește mai departe ...