And the most common insult which circulates among journalists is that of covered officer of an information service. I want to say from the start that the role of this material is to reveal a mechanism, not to uncover the identity of these. Given the fact that you are going to understand that things are much more complicated.
Covered journalists at SRI, SIE or the Army. After several interviews with former intelligence officers I have completed an array of relations of this type.
The documentation has been completed by press analyses and information provided by people in the mass-media with access in these areas. The bottom line is that there are fully conspired information officers in the press. Only that the number is much lower than one imagines, other forms of cooperation being used, much less compromising. I want to be clear: there are fully conspired officers in the media, but not so many as one imagines.
There are other methods to influence, either directly or through service in the blind, i.e. through the supply of data and information, without revealing the true source. Often these journalists are mentioned as sources or collaborators, the term informant being too harsh and as such avoided by information officers.
Collaboration between intelligence and some journalists are based more on promoting certain interests, being channeled on certain areas, especially politics, justice and external relations.
In addition to classical actors, SRI, SIE and DGIA, three other services acted strongly in the media area: DNA, DGIPI and SPP. It may seem surprising, but the latter's relations with members of the press have a much more conspirator character than the classical ones.
We have experienced over the last few weeks various reactions of the System through representatives from the virtual environment and the media.
Everything started from the SIPA ARCHIVE, in my opinion, an important vulnerability of Binomial, the first real reveal of how the power of SRI-DNA extended on the judges.
Attacks, quite timid at first, became extremely violent, which determined me to write this material. Because we see once again how the Network is reactivated.
Because clearly it is not just a fantasy, but we're talking about a reality, because from SRI and SIE, to the General Directorate of Information of the Army, passing through DIPI, all intelligence services have always recruited journalists as covered officers, or used them to influence public opinion.
A project that I have for some time and which involves studying the archives of the former Security shows me that there's nothing new under the Sun. Names of well-known journalists were used by Ceaușescu's Security. One thing that has certainly not changed at all after 1989. Services require this, but problems arise when journalists with shoulder boards are used for purposes other than those related to national security. And the facts and events that I have uncovered in the course of the series, "We are the State!" shows us a completely different size of the construction.
In an interview with the SRI Director, from 2015, we obtained the following explanation:
Dan Andronic: From this perspective haw are you standing with officers covered in the media?
George Maior: The same as all democratic European states.
D.A.: So, well.
George Maior: The same as all democratic European States. The covered Officer is a special dimension, a special weapon of any intelligence service; his job is that by using this quality to bring national security information for the State.
D.A.: And we'll ever learn their identity?
G.M: That is the idea that we won't! That's why we are talking about covered officers and State information.
A standard response, of which everyone understands whatever they want.
We claimed then that there seems to be nothing abnormal for intelligence officers to have covered officers in the press,
“that the presence of covered officers in the press is part of the services job and I don't think there is any problem. I, personally, consider that in services we have very good professionals, but I don't think we need to tell them how to do their job ".
It is right that the converse should be valid…
The attack at SRI or SIE on this subject is counterproductive, because you can't ask an information service not to do its job, even if it often means to leave the ordinary rules.
But these are not the only players on the media market.
I'll try to discuss the role of each in turn.
Lucian Pahonțu, head of the SPP, was and is a skillful player, his presence near Traian Basescu and Klaus Iohannis, having as substrate also this skill, matched by a special relationship with two strong managers from mass media.
George Maior, SRI, has nurtured relations with members of the press at a special level, being the Director who created the best image of SRI in the last 25 years. Only that his efforts suffered a powerful recoil when began to unearth things less praiseworthy for the service he led. The case of the journalist Valentin Zaschievici, former editor in chief at Jurnalul National, whose documents as SRI Officer were published in 2012, determined a rethinking of recruitment, part of journalists being routed towards the MApN. View the case Robert Turcescu. The biography of Zaschievici is interesting: graduated from Superior National Safety College, Valentin Zaschievici was a reporter, Coordinator editor at Libertatea, Ora and editor-in-Chief at Jurnalul National. Trainer in projects of the ICJ and Freedom House Romania, Valentin Zaschievici is currently a freelancer. Conspiratorial name was Sofia Teodorescu.
It should be noted that Florian Coldea, Prime Deputy at SRI, had a battery of analysts that he cultivated through weekly meetings. There are at least three prominent men from this area that have confirmed the relations they had with Florian Coldea, only that I do not have permission to give their names.
One of them, who admitted this publicly, is Ion Cristoiu.
His talks with Florian Coldea worn in the spirit described above, that of subtle influence, a tactic that does not have success with EVZ columnist, as those who know Ion Cristoiu for years acknowledge.
But Ion Cristoiu was a special case.
The collaboration between SRI Prime Deputy and General Dumitru Dumbrava, owner of "tactical field from Justice", resulted in the cultivation of some journalists who wrote constantly about files and processes and feeding them with information.
Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, head of SIE, had the same policy as Maior, being a catalyst for certain parts of the media. Which most often came into conflict with that of SRI, being in constant competition for the attention of the President of Romania. Băsescu or Iohannis. His relations were at the top of some media trusts, but also among foreign policy analysts.
About DGIPI (the intelligence service of the Ministry of Internals) and DGIA (MApN's information service) can be said it has a significant proportion of journalists with shoulder boards being a sort of officers tank, conspired, for SRI, a move prompted by the need to convince certain people not looking with good eyes a direct recruitment.
Laura Codruta Kovesi, DNA head, was exposed by a blunder of Mircea Marian, at that time a journalist for EVZ, which deals with the dissemination of indictments through newsrooms. From revelations of Sebastian Ghita, media owner who ran in Serbia, we learn that she used different email addresses for communication with the press, the famous [email protected], but the way she worked has changed over time.
Having alongside Gen. Florian Coldea and Gen. Dumitru Dumbrava, the Binomial has conceived a series of seminars organized by the same ONGs that met prosecutors, journalists, officers, especially Gen. Dumitru Dumbrava, elegantly dressed in the need for knowledge and specialization.
Even now it does not seem unusual, even though I learned new things.
Robert Turcescu, current PMP parliamentarian, had a moment in which he gave to understand that he was a journalist and covered officer. Few shall remember, but during a broadcast, in the advertisement break specifically, Turcescu had a verbal altercation with Ilie Sârbu the leader of the PSD senators and the father-in-law of Victor Ponta, in which he made a stunning revelation:
"Yes, I was an undercover Lt. Col. I publish below some of the payment states, with the amounts of money that I have received. I chose not to betray on good God and to make this confession public. I refuse to be a Judas in front of Christ, even though today, to those of you who read and see this text, maybe it won't be very clear what's going on. Pray for me and with me to be forgiven and freed. I am prepared to social stigma, I deserve it, but I hope to have righteous laws and judges. With God forward and be well! I ask forgiveness from all of you".
Later the versions changed, but the initial impression remained.
Now we see how things were not fully cleared, since they couldn't be cleared! The quality of undercover officer cannot be disclosed unless you have decided to break the law and oath that you signed.
Has Turcescu done well that he recognized? I think Yes, that he showed courage and freed himself…
But the way intelligence is operating in the media is not always in accordance with the rules of networking.
I shall give you another example.
Sorina Matei is a journalist with whom I was occasionally on opposing sides, but whose efforts I've always appreciated, and the fact that she has benefited from such aid does not have the meaning some want to give.
Has the value of an example, and since it is a problem that I suggested once, I think I have the duty to clarify it.
I think that there is no secret that Sorina Matei, considered "house columnist of Traian Basescu and the Binomial trumpet" by those who watched Mihai Gâdea & co. every evening, whose articles were used by SRI generals to fight with each other, was preferred either by Traian Băsescu, or Florian Coldea, Laura Codruta Kovesi, Daniel Morar or Gabriel Oprea.
In 2014, Sorina Matei came back to B1 TV after a short passage through Romania TV, owned by Sebastian Ghiță, where she had been employed as a result of the "advice" given to him by his friend Florian Coldea.
At one point, Sorina Matei quarreled with Ghita and wanted to return to B1, but she could not.
Sorin Oancea, who was left staring into the Sun, has negotiated very closely and seemed that it would not reach an agreement, primarily for financial reasons.
In reality, there was a reason regarding the infighting at the time between the Binomial people, between clusters of SRI, and Sorin Oancea was trying to avoid a conflict with any of the parties, so he offered half the salary she required.
Immediately upon her started to fall the allusions. The first was Gabriel Oprea, and then others followed.
At one point, Nicolae Dumitru, asked by Gabriel Oprea, discussed directly with Sorin Oancea this issue and has agreed to cover the financial difference through an additional advertising contract.
Between B1 TV and his firms a publicity contract already existed, the figure was quite consistent. The amount that remained to be covered by the supplementary contract was not large, somewhere around 1.000 euros per month, but this is the way Sorina Matei's problem was solved.
This brings some questions: why was George Maior interested or Florian Coldea of the fate of a journalist, even though we are talking about Sorina Matei? How Gabriel Oprea knew how much she earned at B1? Did the journalist complained or have technical means been used? Why Gabriel Oprea intervened with Nicolae Dumitru for a seemingly minor problem? Who wanted so much B1 TV shows to be replayed?
For me, the answers are obvious, and the fact that Sorina Matei continues the series of disclosures related to Sebastian Ghiță & Co. on her blog is only part of the answer.
Has Sorina Matei ever known this back story? No.
I am convinced that she was never told that she was the determining factor. It is the first time I say it from head to tail, being just one of the things I've lived as a journalist and press manager.
Is it an isolated case? No…
I kept in mind a phrase used by people in the system: we don't live people behind! A translation of the American No men left behind! which masked especially the way they exercised influence in the press.
You want another example: look at the last year hires from Digi TV, move them through this filter, and you'll understand more! The protection that this trust gets from DNA has to do with special relationships that Zoltan Teszari and Ioan Bendei had with the head of an information service, and then with DNA chief, either directly or through the services made. What kind of services?
Digi 24 has become a kind of "asylum" for a part of secret services proteges.
I'm curious how they will react (ethically) all those employed as analysts when they realize they are working for a television station whose heads wash money and bribe…
I bet that you won't see any resignation on grounds of conscience, you'll see Cristian Tudor Popescu ranting and raving, forgetting that he is part of a gear that has corrupted.
What's the difference with the others?
Just the fact that Digi TV Project was described by former SRI first Deputy Florian Coldea, to that close as one of soul…
Examples can continue. Robert Turcescu said about Ioana Ene Dogioiu from ziare.com that you can see her shoulder boards, an expression which covers more than discovers. But if you read the materials written by her you'll learn every time what are Binomial positions.
About Dan Tapalagă, columnist at Hotnews – the place where almost identical material with those from ziare.com appear, I was told at one point that SRI gets in contact with him by a man. IE he does not communicate to the peak, which can mean anything, from the Direction of Cover to a mutual friend, but it was a turbulent period, whereas Tapalagă was in conflict with former spokesperson for SRI, Sorin Sava, which he threatened to fire.
Cristian Burci, owner of "Adevarul" trust, was "advised" to fire people, see the case A.A, but also to hire them, as was the case of Ionel Stoica, the kind of journalist who doesn't ask questions and publish only DNA indictments. He is not the only one, but Burici's trust was a target that many have endorsed as early as the time of Dinu Patriciu.
Who controlled Burici? Sometimes "well-wishers" addressed directly, sometimes they chose by passes, but the signals were coming from the area of DNA and information services.
How was put pressure on him? Through the dossier (dossiers).
I've counseled Liviu Avram, columnist at Adevarul, an intimate of these "technological processes", to ask Burici what money he used for buying "Adevarul". I don't mean impressions but papers.
Do you think he will do it?
No, because he doesn’t want to know the answer.
Do you think that Liviu Avram will speak about the relations between his employer Cristian Burci and former head of SIE, Ioan Talpeș? About the relations between Cristian Burci and Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, former head of the SIE? How about the relations with Laura Codruta Kovesi? I don't think he is allowed, although professional consciousness does not give him peace.
In order to reassure him, I can tell him that Cristian Burci's relationships exceeded Liviu Avram's knowledge, his boss being a close friend with Gen. Dan Gheorghe, the one who managed the SIPA archive.
What I mean by these examples?
Everything seems to be spinning around the same support point, the last 10-12 years having a major player in persons on the tip of the intelligence services.
Which has nothing out of place, until from support becomes only a comma in the ambitions of certain senior officials of the State.
But as I said originally, if the use of the press meant other than defending the national interest, then someone will have to give account.
And maybe it would not hurt for a cleaning process to begin by telling the facts straight…
Even just to demonstrate that They are Not the State!
P.S. I think that it should be inserted a statement of interests in the press, because often the shareholders of media are blamed for various maneuvers through which they try to save the business, but somewhere beneath them, are journalists who receive scholarships for children, and studies at a private school costs over 35.000 euros per year, who are invited periodically to the mountains or the sea at seminars with DNA prosecutors and SRI representatives, at spritzers with umbrellas, perfection trips, thus building the Network used when needed.
As was needed in key political moments, but also these days, when someone had to become awkward (i.e., Andreea Pora) letting us know that the report Chiuariu-Predoiu from 20088 regarding stealing SIPA archive was made secret because it didn't contain interesting data…
Or Liviu Avram to attack the idea of unsealing the Report, and Attila Biro, Ionel Stoica, Alex Costache, Ondine Gherguț, Cristian Campineanu and others to support him.
Or Liviu Avram to attack the idea of unsealing the Report, and Attila Biro, Ionel Stoica, Alex Costache, Ondine Gherguț, Cristian Campineanu and others to support him.
The same every time.
Gen. Dumbrava's friends, as a better informed man would say…
A little more patience, please!