President accuses ex-SIE head Melescanu of complicity. PM:They are all lies.
President Traian Basescu stroke a blow on Victor Ponta late last night at Realitatea TV, unveiling the prime minister has been undercover agent with the Foreign Intelligence Service between 1997 and 2001. “Victor Ponta has to admit he was SIE undercover agent during 1997-2001, which explains his ‘leap’, his promotion from the district Court Prosecutor’s Office straight to the General Prosecutor’s Office. There is no scoop, it’s reality and I am ready to prove it”, Basescu stated. However he presented a government decree, initiated by ex-SIE director Teodor Melescanu and signed by PM Ponta, which enabled extended protection also for the agents who ceased relationship with the intelligence service. Basescu said this decree has never made it to the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) as it should be. He also accused that Teodor Melescanu is a friend of Ponta’s father-in-law, Ilie Sarbu. As a matter of fact, asked if Melescanu was an accomplice in all this matter, the President answered: “Totally”. He said he officially asked Melescanu while the latter was still SIE director if there are any undercover agents in the Government, and Melescanu did not answer, appealing to the government decree that expanded protection for former agents. Basescu said he stopped trusting Melescanu from that moment, underlining it was the most serious security incident during his term. According to the head of state, it was the only time that he asked for information, as President, from an intelligence service and got no answer. Traian Basescu denounced the intervention of politics in the intelligence services’ business, accusing both Ponta and Melescanu they made SIE vulnerable.
Before unveiling the beat, the head of state began to say that one of the presidential candidates must admit he is undercover agent, otherwise “the ex-boss will laugh in his face”. “He will (the former boss) laugh when he (the candidate) becomes President. He is laughing at the candidate now as well, when is prime minister, but it is ok for the time being”, Basescu reveals, getting the ground for further big disclosure.
After bringing “the undercover agent issue” into vogue more than a month ago, Traian Basescu pledged to unveil his name before the entire mass media. Presidential contenders rushed to deny it was one of them, including Ponta who said: “Even if I had been (an undercover agent), I would still have had to say that I wasn’t”. Ex-SIE head Teodor Melescanu himself opined that the undercover agent is a fake topic.
Just a couple of hours before Basescu going out public on the undercover agent issue, PSD Honorary President, Ion Iliescu was dismissing the topic, saying it is one of Basescu’s “tricky fabrications”, a “fake”, meant to confuse voters and make them suspect presidential candidates. About Ponta, Iliescu said he is younger and more impulsive, but “he is a smart boy”.
Sebastian Ghita –under fire, Microsoft case put forth again
President Basescu also pointed his finger at PSD MP Sebastian Ghita, a famous IT and media tycoon. According to the head of state, Ghita “expanded a lot”, underground or at plain sight, having contracts at EADS, STS “everywhere”. In Basescu’s view, Ghita is even more dangerous than Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, as he is convinced he is behind the future president’s installing. “He goes to state institutions and is barking at everybody, everybody fears him”, Basescu argued.
Speaking of EADS case, Basescu said there were some negative notes on certain persons, which are to be found also in the Microsoft file. Asked if there will be further disclosures on Microsoft case, the President said “there will be more, including related to persons”.
Ponta: Basescu is extremely wrought up and confused
While in Iasi on Tuesday morning to take part in St. Parascheva celebrations, PM Victor Ponta said Basescu’s statements on the undercover agent “are all lies”, adding he would pray for the head of state as he is “extremely confused and wrought up”. “I heard Mr. President Basescu went on with the attacks last night, not only against me but against all presidential candidates. After 10 years of experiencing lies, abjectness and Basescu using state institutions on his own purposes, today there are only 33 days of enduring this tragedy (…) From my point of view, anything Basescu does or says during these 33 days is just an example of what I am not supposed to do when I am President (…) If he broke the law we would definitely ask for him to be punished. But until then, during those 33 days left, we need to show we are different and that Romania is different, after all these nine years and 11 months of calumnies and attacks below the belt”, Ponta said.
The prime minister also pointed out the only thing he did was to serve his country since he graduated, as magistrate, minister and that he will do the same as future President. Ponta also slammed Basescu for using his Presidency role to support Elena Udrea in the presidential race. “It is totally unacceptable for an incumbent president to support a certain candidate”.
As for other political echoes, some voices asked for Ponta’s stepping out the presidential race and the Government, others said Basescu’s disclosure does no harm whatsoever. Independent presidential contender Monica Macovei said Ponta should resign from the premier’s office and withdraw candidacy for Presidency. PNL vice-chairman Ludovic Orban commented the undercover agent’s statement will not have great impact as Basescu is the one to make it. In his turn, Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc said there is no contravention, as only the ex-intelligence officers who were informers would run afoul of the law if they ran for a state office.