General Florian Coldea, former vice deputy director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), competed for a position as a university lecturer at the SRI’s National Intelligence Academy “Mihai Viteazu” (ANIMV in Romanian) on June 30, 2017. He was accepted and granted the position, although he did not meet all the requirements imposed by law.
Florian Coldea made a declaration that he consequently signed, stating that he is eligible to take on this teaching position. The hiring committee therefore accepted his application, although the SRI General did not meet all the necessary and mandatory minimum scientific standards. The Legal Service of the SRI Academy, according to the outlined procedures, approved his application for the position.
All of the undertakings that were uncovered unveil the truth of the matter: the former chief operating officer of the SRI had been preparing his CV for the previous two years, so that he might be able to occupy, at some point, the position of university lecturer.
After the hiring process, the Romanian Intelligence Service once again employed Florian Coldea on a full-time basis, given the fact that ANIMV is the military unit of the SRI.
Coldea has been on a forced retirement for almost seven months, as he was asked to resign from the SRI in mid-January, following the disclosures made by businessman Sebastian Ghiță regarding the holidays they spent together in several exotic destinations.
Florian Coldea did not answer the phone calls or messages I left him asking for his point of view.
Instead, we received a reaction from the ANIMV Press Office: “We assure you that the entire procedure of granting Mr. Florian Coldea the title of university lecturer was rigorous, transparent and in accordance with all laws and regulations.”
Just three months after Florian Coldea was removed from the position of vice deputy of the director of the SRI, ANIMV set up a university lecturer position dedicated to him.
On April 28, 2017, the announcement regarding the opening of Position 76 as a university lecturer in the Department of Security and Intelligence Studies in the Faculty of Intelligence Studies was published in the Official Monitor.
According to the procedures, the SRI Academy made the vacancy of the position known to public on its own website as well, but not immediately, as provided by law. It was only published in June.
For a six-week period, between April 28 and June 14, the timeframe was established for those interested in applying for the position and could legally do so. The only individual who submitted an application was Florian Coldea.
The main two disciplines in the curriculum for the university lecturer position 76 were Security Risk Management and National Security Organization Management.
Florian Coldea’s doctoral thesis is called Change Management in Intelligence Services. In the past, he taught two courses at ANIMV: National Security Risk Management and Ethics in Intelligence Analysis.
The chairman of the hiring commission was associate professor Dr. Veronica Mihalache, director of the Department of Security and Intelligence Studies of the Faculty of Intelligence Studies.
She had been a colleague of Florian Coldea in the past as both had taken courses of the Faculty of Psychosociology in the ANIMV between 1992-1996. In fact, Veronica Mihalache will be Florian Coldea’s boss as of October 2017.
The hiring committee also included: Prof. Dr. Remus Pricopie, from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA), Prof. Dr. Teodoru-Gheorghe Ștefan, from the ANIMV, Prof. Dr. Daniel Dumitru, from “Carol I” National Defense University, and Prof. Dr. Ioan Constantin Rada, from the University of Oradea.
Remus Pricopie is the Rector of the SNSPA, the university where Florian Coldea’s wife, Dorina Coldea, attempted to obtain a position as a university lecturer last year, within the Sociology Department of the Faculty of Political Sciences. Following the exclusive disclosures made by PressOne, the SNSPA decided, three days later, to suspend the hiring process for this particular teaching position that was being sought after by the wife of the SRI’s first deputy.
Remus Pricopie is a close friend of George Maior, the former director of the SRI. Pricopie also holds the position of interim President of the Academy of National Security Sciences, a sinecure type institution, which affords monthly salaries to its members – for life. Members of the Academy include George Maior, Vasile Dîncu, Dan Mihalache, Sorin Cîmpeanu and Adrian Curaj.
The ambiguity around the hiring process for Coldea’s position
In order to obtain the title of university lecturer, Position 76 was made open at the ANIMV and Florian Coldea had to meet two major requirements: to complete the application through which he would demonstrate that he fulfils the didactic and scientific criteria required by law, and secondly, to hold a public hearing.
An application for a position as a university lecturer, irrespective of the didactic level in question, must be completed in accordance with the necessary and obligatory minimum standards for conferring teaching titles in the field of Military Sciences, Information and Public Order (Commission 26), established by Ministerial Order no. 6129/2016. If a candidate does not meet the minimum and necessary requirements, a formal rejection will ensue.
The minimum criteria are divided into three distinct areas within the Military Science, Intelligence and Public Order Commission: Didactic activity, Research Activity and Recognition of the impact of one’s scientific activity.
For each of the three areas, there is a minimum score that a candidate must obtain in order for his application to be accepted.
For the position of lecturer, the minimum total score is 60 points, divided as follows: a minimum of 35 points for Didactic Activity, a minimum of 20 points for Research Activity and a minimum of 5 points for the Recognition of the impact of one’s scientific activity.
The most important aspects of a candidate’s application are the CV in addition to the score sheet document, which verifies the candidate has met the standards for obtaining a didactic position by offering a score.
After analysing and comparing Florian Coldea’s CV, score sheet and list of published papers, I discovered that there are a number of curiosities regarding the score allocated to this individual, who also happens to be the former second most important employee of the SRI. I also discovered that he did not meet some of the mandatory criteria required by the Standards. These are cumulative conditions that are necessary for a candidate to be declared admitted.
Coldea calculated a score of 73,576 for himself, according to the personal standards verification sheet. However, when looked at more closely, his score is in actuality less than 60 points, which is the minimum required score to be declared admitted to the competition for a position as a lecturer in the field of Military Sciences, Intelligence and Public Order.
Let’s look at them one by one.
First Requirement. Didactic activity
The first mismatch between Florian Coldea’s CV and the Standards compliance checklist appears in the Didactic Activity chapter.
The minimum score required for this field is 35 points, and Florian Coldea claims he has a score that is slightly above the limit: 36,076.
In subheading 1.2.1, which was supposed to be specified was the score related to the university courses, teaching materials and references published by Florian Coldea over a period of time. For each university course, teaching material and reference work, five points are awarded.
Florian Coldea awarded himself five points related to the publication of this category of written work. However, at this point, that kind of work does not meet the mandatory requirements required by law.
According to the necessary and obligatory minimum standards for conferring teaching titles in the field of Military Sciences, Intelligence and Public Order (Commission 26), under this particular subpoint, it is required that the candidate must have published at least two written works, one of which must be a university course.
According to the list of his research papers (also a document that appears in the application file, other than the check sheet), the five points were self-awarded due to the publication of a university course for students from ANIMV, a course that has a special regime, since it is classified.
Second Requirement. Research Activity
Another uncertainty is raised when considering whether he has met the standards in the field of Research, where a minimum of 20 points is required.
This is in regards to Point 2.2: Articles; Studies or Research Papers that have relevant content in the field of Military Sciences, Intelligence and Public Order, which are published in journals, prestigious scientific magazines or in the volumes of scientific events that are based on the field of Military Sciences, Intelligence and Public Order or that are indexed in international databases.
According to Florian Coldea’s compliance check sheet, he declared that he authored a total of 22 articles or studies, for which he has given himself a score of 22.5 points.
Florian Coldea has definitely authored four articles that fall within the scientific criteria of this sub-domain:
– Symmetry and Asymmetry in International Relations, published in Impact Strategic magazine, no. 1/2011, article co-authored by Liviu Bogdan Vlad;
– New Challenges on the Intelligence Frontline – a Practitioner’s Perspective, published in the Romanian Journal of Intelligence Studies, no. 14, as of December 2015,
– Building National Capabilities and Countering Hybrid Threats: Lesson Learned, published in 2015 in the volume resulting from the Conference “Countering Hybrid Threats: Lesson Learned from Ukraine;“
– The Intelligent Nexus. Security, Development and Intelligence Cooperation in the Black Sea Area , published in 2016 in the volume resulting from the Conference entitled “Intelligent in the Knowledge Society.”
For example, in the Publications section of his CV, Florian Coldea specifies a number of 10 editorials published in the scientific journal Intelligence. He also makes mention of an argumentation to a book and three prefaces, one of which was authored together with George Maior. None of these texts is nor can be considered an article or scientific study, since it does not contain scientific references.
In the list of research papers – a document that is needed in order to calculate the final score – all of these editorials published in the journal Intelligence are listed.
Several university professors who have been part of hiring committees for teaching positions in the past have informed us that editorials, prefaces or arguments cannot be considered to be scientific studies and cannot be taken into account when tallying up a score that is meant for a didactic position application.
Under the protection of anonymity, a professor disclosed that the standards of the Military Science, Intelligence and Public Order Commission are the lowest in the entire university education system.
“Within that particular commission, everything has been relativized, and what’s going on there is anything but science,“ the professor told us.
In conclusion, Florian Coldea’s score in this area is questionable.
Third Requirement. Recognition of the impact of one’s scientific activity
In this last chapter, where the minimum required score is five points, there is a claim (and subsequently a score) that does not prove itself to be true, in addition to a score that has been assigned incorrectly, thus inflating Florian Coldea’s total score by four points.
In subchapter 3.1.2 of the check sheet, Florian Coldea ticked off two points related to his works that have been cited in indexed journals in international databases. In fact, there is no such citation therefore no basis to his claim. This is according to Google Scholar and Publish or Perish, two online tools that index scientific articles cited by other researchers.
In chapter 3.3.1, Presentations/Invitations to the plenary of international scientific events, Florian Coldea mentions the fact that he was present at eight such international events. To attend a conference, the score awarded is one point, so his total score here should have been eight. In Coldea’s file there are 10 points allotted, so two more points that are not warranted.
The minimum Standards that are necessary and mandatory for conferring teaching titles in the field of Military Sciences, Intelligence and Public Order (Commission 26), established by the Ministerial Order no. 6129/2016, makes it very clear that a scientific paper cannot be mentioned twice, in separate categories, so that the candidate might artificially raise his score:
“A publication or citation must fall within a single category, taking into account the most favorable classification for the candidate.”
Coldea’s re-employment in the SRI
There are a number of procedures that must be undertaken once a candidate is declared admitted after a hiring process is completed.
In order to be considered valid, the hiring process Florian Coldea had participated in needed to first be approved by the council of the Faculty of Intelligence, and later by the ANIMV Senate.
The ANIMV Press Office confirmed to us that two AVIZARI were made before the university went on holidays beginning on August 1.
The next step was to officially grant the didactic title to the chosen candidate who had been admitted into the position, which is done according to Art. 26, paragraph 1 of the Methodology regarding the organization and conduct of the hiring process for the purpose of granting a teaching position in ANIMV, as a result of the decision of the ANIMV rector. This is subsequently recorded in the Order of the Day for the Department.
According to the Press Office of the ANIMV, the decision to award the didactic title of university lecturer to Florian Coldea had already been signed by the rector of the SRI Academy.
It is only after this formality has been undertaken that the procedure for hiring the future professor within the SRI is actually initiated. This is according to Art. 48 of the same Methodology:
“The process of integrating the candidates who successfully completed the hiring process into the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the appointment of any of the positions that were made available in the hiring process are conditioned by the following selection stages specific to the institution, according to Law no. 80/1995 regarding the status of the military frameworks, with subsequent additions and modifications and with the internal regulations in force”.
According to the ANIMV Press Office, the official procedure for hiring Florian Coldea as a university lecturer has not yet begun.
Rector of SRI Academy, let go
Sources from the academic environment have told us that the Rector of the SRI Academy, Niculae Iancu, was let go and put into reserve at the end of July, coinciding with the massive wave of departures of some high-ranking officers from the Romanian Intelligence Service.
Although there has been no official confirmation from the SRI, Niculae Iancu’s dismissal is most likely related to multiple press releases that have unveiled the flagrant violation of academic ethics and even illegalities committed at the ANIMV, with many of them taking place during the time of Niculae’s term as rector. Iancu was also held responsible for hiding some of these illegalities.
Niculae Iancu had the rank of colonel in the SRI and held the didactic title of university lecturer at ANIMV. Until 2013, he was George Maior’s personal advisor.
Sources from the Intelligence Services have told us that Iancu is a close friend of George Maior, having been transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the SRI in 2007.
Iancu is a graduate of the Military Technical Academy, and in the MApN (Ministry of National Defense), he worked as a scientific researcher at the Center for Testing, Evaluation and Scientific Research of Armaments.
Iancu is also a member of the Academy of National Security Sciences that was established by Gabriel Oprea and George Maior. His membership equips him with a monthly salary for as long as he is alive.
It is more than likely that Professor Adrian Ivan will fill the position of rector of the ANIMV this autumn. He is currently director of the Department of International Studies and Contemporary History of the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca.
In October of 2016, Ivan was appointed the “activity coordinator” of the ANIMV Doctoral School, a function that is not provided for by the legislation in force, as revealed by the journalist Melania Cincea.
Self-declaration of liability
According to the methodology employed by the ANIMV for carrying out a hiring process, a candidate’s file must include a registration application “signed by the candidate, which includes a statement on his own responsibility regarding the veracity of the information presented in the file”.
This affidavit is made under Art. 292 of the Penal Code, which is regarding the falsification of declarations.
Tactical battle plan
The actions of the SRI’s former vice deputy director over the last two years, subsequent to the election of Klaus Iohannis as president and the resignation of the former director George Maior, demonstrate that Florian Coldea was concerned with meeting the criteria for obtaining a teaching position at the SRI Academy.
Last year, Coldea published his doctoral dissertation, which he completed in 2010 at the SRI Academy, under doctoral supervisor Gabriel Oprea. The research paper was published under the same name that was used when he defended his dissertation in 2010: Change Management in Intelligence Services, at the National Academy of Intelligence Publishing House.
The publication of one’s thesis is a mandatory condition according to the legal criteria that stipulates the requirements needed to take on the role of lecturer.
Nine of the 20 publications mentioned in Florian Coldea’s CV was written between 2015-2017.
His final objective might also explain the fact that this year, Florian Coldea published a book, as the sole author, at the National Intelligence Academy Publishing House, entitled About Intelligence Services: Thoughts, Perspectives, Opinions. A Plea for Trust. The publication of a book as sole author is one of the compulsory conditions in order to be considered in the hiring competition for the position of university lecturer.
And, last but not least, this year, Florian Coldea participated in a scientific conference organized by the Air Force Academy in Brasov with two research papers, according to his list of research works.
The surprises of the SRI’s former chief operating officer’s CV
Florian Coldea’s CV contains more surprising information. The first surprise on the list is that he stated he was a university lecturer at ANIMV, being the holder of the courses on National Security Risk Management and Ethics in Intelligence Analysis.
According to the ANIMV Press Office, Florian Coldea competed for the position of university lecturer at the SRI Academy in June 2010, but his title as a professor was removed when he was transferred to the reserves.
From his CV, I also learned that Florian Coldea has worked in the Directorate of Prevention and Counter-Terrorism since he graduated from the Faculty of Intelligence within the ANIMV. This was the case from 1996 until he was appointed deputy director of the SRI in 2005. One of his main responsibilities during that timeframe was to recruit and manage the counterterrorism field.
From 1999 to 2000, he held several management positions, the highest position being the deputy head of the Directorate for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.
According to Florian Coldea’s CV, here is a complete list of his published works:
1. Thierry Cretin – Mafia. In the Footsteps of Criminal Societies. Preface, RAO Publishing House, 2011.
2. Symmetry and Asymmetry in International Relations, article published in Impact Strategic Magazine, no. 1/2011 (co-authored by Liviu Bogdan Vlad).
3. Counter-espionage in the 21st Century. Perspectives and Transformations in A Mind War. Intelligence, Secret Services and Strategic Knowledge in the 21st Century, RAO Publishing, 2011.
4. Analysts and Operatives – Versus or contra versus, in Ars Analitica Challenges and Trends in Intelligence Analysis, RAO Publishing, 2012.
5. Jean Louis Brouguiere – What I Couldn’t Say. 30 years of Fighting Terrorism. Preface, RAO Publishing House, 2013.
6. Pleading for Trust – the SRI’s Main Capital. An editorial, published in the Journal Intelligence, no. 21.
7. The Stake of Trust for the Intelligence World – the SRI’s Case, title in Coldea’s CV. Editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, no. March 24, 2013, entitled “The SRI is Based on Trust”.
8. Intelligethics – the Ethical Benchmarks in Intelligence Activity – the title in Coldea’s CV. Editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, no. 26, March 2014, entitled “Ethics in Intelligence or How to Add Value to a Public Good”.
9. Humint and Osint, Current and Future Perspectives, editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, no. September 27, 2014.
10. The Role of Legislation in the Intelligence Activity, editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, no. December 28, 2014.
11. Jose Rodriguez – Extreme Measures. How the Lives of American Citizens Saved the Harsh Measures Taken by the CIA after 9/11. Preface co-authored with George Cristian Maior, Rao Publishing House, 2014.
12. 25 Years in Step with Romania. The Institutional Evolution of the SRI , editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, no. March 29, 2015.
13. New Challenges on the Intelligence Frontline – a practitioner’s perspective, a study published in the Romanian Journal of Intelligence Studies, no. December 14, 2015.
14. Argument in the SRI’s Monograph 1990-2015, RAO Publishing House, 2015.
15. Cyber Security Business as Usual – the title of the CV. Editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, in June 2016, with the title “Cyber security, from the” Crown Pearl in IT to Business as Usual in Society”, and not in January-March 2016, as mentioned in the CV.
16. Communication of Intelligence Services. The End of Silence?! , editorial published in the journal Intelligence, no. 32, September 2016.
17. Combating Terrorism: Competitiveness or Competition?, Editorial published in the Journal Intelligence, no. 33, December 2016.
18. Intelligent Services in a Democratic Society in Transatlantic Romania, co-authored by Vasile Iuga, Mihaela Nicola, Răsvan Radu, Club România, 2016.
19. Management of Change in Intelligence Services, PhD thesis, Publishing House of the National Intelligence Academy Mihai Viteazul, 2016.
20. About Intelligence Services: Thoughts, Perspectives, Opinions. A Plea for Confidence. Publishing House of the National Intelligence Academy “Mihai Viteazul”, 2017.***Note. The Romanian Intelligence Service publishes two magazines: Intelligence and the Romanian Journal of Intelligence Studies.