The director of the Romanian Intelligence Service, Eduard Hellvig, was the 33rd member of the Academy of National Security Sciences (ASSN in Romanian) identified by PressOne.
Hellvig’s name has been added to the list of the 32 members outlined in an exclusive article written by PressOne earlier this month (This article was originally published in 2016). Although the ASSN is a public institution and receives its finances through the state budget, their leadership refuses to officially give the press access to the full list of members.
Several anonymous sources have told us that Eduard Hellvig has been a member of the Academy of National Security Sciences since recently.
The information was officially confirmed to us by the SRI spokesperson, Ovidiu Marincea. He said that Eduard Hellvig became a member of ASSN in September 2015, when he was told that, in his role as director of the SRI, he must become a member of the Academy. Marincea said that Hellvig resigned from the ASSN in December 2015.
Eduard Hellvig belonged to the National Security and Intelligence Section of the ASSN. The reasons for his resignation were not communicated to us.
According to the ASSN’s governing laws and the Academy’s Charter, the official role of the SRI Director is not one that involves becoming an official member of the ASSN.
Moreover, the basic requirements specify the fact that ASSN members must be “individuals offering great scientific and professional value in the fields of scientific research in the defense system, public order and national security”.
Eduard Hellvig does not meet this requirement: he has never completed any scientific studies or research in matters of national security.
Hellvig is a graduate of the Faculty of Political Sciences at the Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA), where the current president of ASSN, Remus Pricopie, also serves as Rector of the University.
His only connection to the field of national security before becoming the director of the SRI were two short-term courses at the George C. Marshall National Defense College and the European Center for Security Studies.
Sources close to ASSN have told us that the reason why the official publication of the Academy’s member list has been delayed is due to the fact that they are currently working on a plan to bring credibility back to the Institution. They want to remove those members who have a doubtful reputation or who have no background in the field of national security.
Other sources have told us that Remus Pricopie was in the United States two weeks ago and one of the reasons for his travel was to discuss the “ASSN situation” with George Maior.
Some members of the ASSN have recently resigned after the emergence of news reports divulging that they are receiving a lifetime monthly stipend from the state.
Among the confirmed resignations are Vasilr Mihail Ozunu, former Vice President of the ASSN, (until mid-February 2015), Gabriel Liviu Ispas, former founding member of the ASSN, and General Cătălin Zisu.
Who are the members of the ASSN who have resigned?
Major General (r) Vasile Mihail Ozunu is a university professor, Director of the National Defense College of the Carol I National Defense University and one of Gabriel Oprea’s closest friends.
He was the Secretary of State of Defense in the mandate of Gabriel Oprea’s ministry. In fact, Gabriel Oprea’s university career is largely owed to Ozunu.
Ozunu was part of the commission that granted Oprea the title of university professor in 2001, although the latter mentioned did not fulfill any of the legal requirements to obtain the title.
In October 2015, Ozunu was also part of the doctoral committee in charge of the dissertation of Gabriel Oprea’s daughter, Ana Maria Tudor, and his son-in-law, Alexandru Marius Tudor. He was also part of the doctoral committees coordinated by Gabriel Oprea at the Police Academy and the National Intelligence Academy, which PressOne has detailed exclusively.
Gabriel Liviu Ispas is the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education, responsible for pre-university education. He was appointed by Sorin Cîmpeanu in the short period in which he was interim Prime Minister following the resignation of Victor Ponta in November 2015.
Ispas is a university lecturer and the suspended dean of the Faculty of Law at the private Titu Maiorescu University. He holds a degree in Law and Theology and is a member of the ARACIS Council.
He has held several leadership positions in the Ministry of Education, in the mandates of the Ministers Anton Anton, Daniel Funeriu, Liviu Pop, Ecaterina Andronescu and Remus Pricopie. He was the personal advisor to Prime Minister Adrian Nastase.
He is a graduate of a short course at the SRI’s National Intelligence Academy. In October of 2015, he joined the doctoral committee for Gabriel Oprea’s daughter, Ana Maria Tudor, and his son-in-law, Alexandru Marius Tudor.
Lieutenant General Cătălin Ștefăniță Zisu is the commander of the Joint Logistics Department of the MApN, which is responsible for all the military hospitals in the nation as well as the Romanian Army’ s official sports club “Steaua“. He broke the age record in the Romanian army for becoming a General at 36.
The press reported that Zisu obtained his university degree under suspicious conditions, but also that he was involved in land exchanges between MApN and Gigi Becali. He is known to be a close friend of Gabriel Oprea.
The silence of the ASSN leadership
The ASSN leadership has consistently refused to respond to PressOne’s requests regarding its members.
The first requests were sent in January 2016 on President Remus Pricopie’s personal e-mail address. So far, he has not responded to emails, telephone calls or telephone messages.
On February 10, I sent a new request under Law 544/2001, this time by mail, to the Institution’s address, and on February 25, I sent an administrative complaint in the same manner.
Since all the legal means by which we could request the list of ASSN members have been exhausted, the only remaining option was the action of taking the Academy to court, which we did on March 18th, 2016.
When Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dîncu, “Father” of Law 544/2001, regarding the right to free access to information of public interest, was asked about ASSN members, he replied that it is not elegant to tattle on his colleagues, but that not providing a list with the members is not an acceptable practice either.
George Maior, the former president of ASSN, replied to us via e-mail and stated that he would discuss our requests regarding the ASSN membership with its current president: “In regards to the list of ASSN members, I assure you that Mr. Remus Pricopie is of good faith and will make the information available to you. Moreover, I promise you that I will personally contact you to inquire about the status of this request. “
• PressOne identified 32 of the members of the Academy of National Security Sciences, a state-funded institution.
• For over two months, the Academy has refused to respond to the requests of the press and to publicly declare their members.
• PressOne has also identified several ASSN members who resigned in recent weeks after the press began disclosing information about this Institution.
• Eight of the ten civilian members of the ASSN are or were PSD members: George Maior, Gabriel Oprea, Vasile Dîncu, Dan Mihalache, Remus Pricopie, Gabriel Liviu Ispas, Gigel Paraschiv and Ion Neagu.
• Nine members of ASSN have no connection whatsoever to the field of national security: Remus Pricopie – SNSPA rector, Vasile Dîncu – Deputy Prime Minister, Adrian Curaj – Minister of Education, Petre Tobă – Minister of the Interior, Sorin Cîmpeanu – former Minister of Education, Dan Mihalache – Head of the Presidential Chancellery, Gabriel Liviu Ispas – Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education, Gigel Paraschiv – Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education, and Ion Neagu – Lawyer.
• Two members of the ASSN are part of the Presidential Administration: Dan Mihalache (photo) and Teodor Frunzeti.
• Five members of ASSN are members in the current government: Vasile Dîncu, Adrian Curaj, Petre Tobă, Gigel Paraschiv and Gabriel Liviu Ispas.
• Two ASSN members were accused of plagiarizing their doctoral thesis: Petre Tobă and Gabriel Oprea. In addition, Oprea was accused of fraudulently becoming a doctoral professor and dissertation supervisor.