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Romanian Parliament elects two new intelligence chiefs

Romanian Parliament elects two new intelligence chiefs

Romania's Parliament approved two new directors of foreign and domestic intelligence on Wednesday despite concerns by some lawmakers that one of the men is a member of the political opposition.
Sen. George Maior of the leftist Social Democratic Party will head the Romanian Intelligence Service, known by its Romanian acronym, SRI, and Claudiu Saftoiu, adviser to President Traian Basescu, was put in charge of the foreign intelligence service.
Maior won enough backing in the assembly despite 'no' votes from some governing Lieral Party lawmakers who said they were concerned about having the post filled by a senator for the leftist opposition.
The nationalist Greater Romania Party also said before the secret ballot that would vote against both candidates.
Saftoiu said Tuesday he wanted to bring "transparency" and modernize the foreign espionage agency. However, he defended the continued use of spies in newspapers and newsrooms, an issue that has prompted criticism.
Basescu, who nominated both Maior and Saftoiu, said he chose Maior because he was professional and is considered a moderate in the Social Democratic Party, which groups former communists.
Romania has eight intelligence agencies, which Western diplomats say is too many for a country preparing to join the European Union. There is also criticism that too little reform has been implemented in the intelligence services.
Former domestic intelligence chief Radu Timofte and foreign espionage chief Gheorghe Fulga resigned in July after Basescu lost confidence in them after a suspect in the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq vanished.


Updated : 2021-05-16 08:24 GMT+08:00