The Securitate commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 set one more million dollars reward each. In the 1980s, Securitate officials allegedly hired Carlos the Jackal
Carlos the Jackal
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez , better known as Carlos the Jackal, is a Venezuelan pro-Palestinian currently serving a life sentence in France for shooting to death two French secret agents and a Lebanese informer in 1975....

 to assassinate Pacepa.

Forced entry into homes and offices and the planting of microphones was another tactic the Securitate used to extract information from the general population. Telephone conversations were routinely monitored, and all internal and international fax and telex communications were intercepted. The methods of Securitatea were largely similar to those of the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 and Stasi
The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), commonly known as the Stasi (abbreviation , literally State Security), was the official state security service of East Germany. The MfS was headquartered...

, and often similar technology was used in accomplishing the tasks. After coal miners' unions went on strike and several leaders later died prematurely of different diseases, it was later discovered that Securitate doctors had subjected them to five minute long chest X-rays in an attempt to have them develop cancer. After birth rates fell, Securitate agents were placed in gynecological wards while regular pregnancy tests were made mandatory for women of child-bearing age, with severe penalties for anyone who was found to have terminated a pregnancy.

The Securitate's presence was so ubiquitous that it was believed one out of four Romanians was an informer. While the ratio may not have been that large, it was certainly large enough to make it all but impossible for dissidents to organize. The regime deliberately fostered this sense of ubiquity, believing that the fear of being watched was sufficient to bend the people to Ceausescu's will. For example, one shadow group of dissidents limited itself to only three families; any more than that would have attracted Securitate attention.


The Securitate was abolished in late 1989, after the dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu was ousted.

Today a number of wealthy individuals, large business owners and millionaires in Romania are suspected or confirmed to have been high-ranking members or collaborators of the Securitate.

The DSS lived on until 1991, when Parliament approved a law reorganizing the DSS into a few special and secret services like the SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service
Serviciul Român de Informatii
The Romanian Intelligence Service is the Romanian domestic intelligence service. It is considered the descendant of the former Departamentul Securităţii Statului , of the Socialist Republic of Romania. The official decree The Romanian Intelligence Service (', SRI) is the Romanian domestic...

) (with internal tasks such as counterespionage), the SIE (Foreign Intelligence Service
Serviciul de Informatii Externe
The Foreign Intelligence Service, or Serviciul de Informaţii Externe in Romanian, is, under Law no. 1/1998, "the state body specialized in foreign intelligence concerning the national security and the safeguarding of Romania and its interests"....

), the SPP (Protection and Guard Service
Serviciul de Protectie si Paza
Protection and Guard Service is an institution of the Romanian state. It operates in the domain of national security and it is specialized in protecting the Romanian officials, the foreign officials during their stay in Romania, and their families, according to the law...

) (the former Directorate V), the STS (Special Telecommunications Service
Serviciul de Telecomunicatii Speciale
Serviciul de Telecomunicaţii Speciale is one of the Romanian secret services. It provides telecommunication services for the Romanian public authorities in time of peace, war, and state of emergency....

) (the former General Directorate for Technical Operations), etc.

General Directorate for Technical Operations

The General Directorate for Technical Operations was a key part of the Securitate. Created with Soviet assistance in 1954, it monitored all voice and electronic communications in and out of Romania. They bugged telephones and intercepted all telegraphs and telex
A teleprinter is a electromechanical typewriter that can be used to communicate typed messages from point to point and point to multipoint over a variety of communication channels that range from a simple electrical connection, such as a pair of wires, to the use of radio and microwave as the...

 messages, as well as placing microphones in both public and private buildings. Nearly all conversations conducted in Communist Romania would be listened to by this department.

Directorate for Counterespionage

The Directorate for Counterespionage surveyed all foreigners in Romania, and did their utmost to impede contact between foreigners and Romanians. Contact that was impossible to stop was instead monitored. It enforced a variety of measures to prevent Romanians living with foreign nationals, one of these being the requirement to report any known foreigners to the Securitate within 24 hours. One of the tasks of this Directorate was to stop Romanians from seeking asylum in foreign embassies.

Directorate for Penitentiaries

The Directorate for Penitentiaries operated Romania's prisons, which were notorious for their horrendous conditions. Prisoners were routinely beaten, denied medical attention, had their mail taken away from them, and sometimes even administered lethal doses of poison.

Directorate for Internal Security

The Directorate for Internal Security was originally given the task of monitoring the activities going on in the Romanian Communist Party
Romanian Communist Party
The Romanian Communist Party was a communist political party in Romania. Successor to the Bolshevik wing of the Socialist Party of Romania, it gave ideological endorsement to communist revolution and the disestablishment of Greater Romania. The PCR was a minor and illegal grouping for much of the...

. But after Ion Mihai Pacepa's defection in 1978 and his exposing details of the Ceauşescu regime, such as the collaboration with Arab terrorists, massive espionage on American industry targets and elaborate efforts to rally Western political support, international infiltration and espionage in the Securitate only increased, much to Ceauşescu's anger. In order to solve this problem the entire Division was reorganized and was charged with rooting out dissent in the Communist Party. A top secret division of this Directorate was formed from forces loyal only to Ceauşescu and charged with monitoring the Securitate itself. It acted almost as a Securitate for the Securitate, and was responsible for bugging the phones of other Securitate officers and Communist Party officials to ensure total loyalty.

National Commission for Visas and Passports

The National Commission for Visas
Visa (document)
A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

 and Passport
A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

controlled all travel and immigration in and out of Romania. In effect, traveling abroad was all but impossible for anyone but highly placed Party officials, and any ordinary Romanian who applied for a passport was immediately placed under surveillance. Many Jews and ethnic Germans were given passports and exit visas through tacit agreements with the Israeli and West German governments, whereby Romania received a payment of 5 to 10 thousand USD per exit visa. When laws related to travel abroad were relaxed in 1988, 40,000 Romanians went to Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, refusing to return home.

Directorate for Security Troops

The Directorate for Security Troops acted as a 20,000-strong paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 force for the government, equipped with artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 and armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

s. They guarded television and radio stations, and Party buildings. To ensure total loyalty amongst these crack troops, there were five times as many political officer
Political commissar
The political commissar is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military...

s in the Directorate for Security Troops than there were in the regular army. In the event of a coup, this Directorate would be called in to protect the regime. Security troops enjoyed special treatment, and often lived in far superior conditions to their countrymen.

After the Revolution
Romanian Revolution of 1989
The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was a series of riots and clashes in December 1989. These were part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several Warsaw Pact countries...

, the Directorate for Security Troops was disbanded and replaced first by the Guard and Order Troops (Trupele de Pază şi Ordine), and in July 1990 by the Gendarmerie
Jandarmeria Româna
Jandarmeria Română is the military branch of the two Romanian police forces .The gendarmerie is subordinated to the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform and does not have responsibility for policing the Romanian Armed Forces...


Directorate for Militia

The Directorate for Militia controlled Romania's Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

, the standard police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 force, which carried out tasks such as traffic
Traffic on roads may consist of pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances, either singly or together, while using the public way for purposes of travel...

 control. In 1990 it was replaced by the Romanian Police
Romanian Police
The Romanian Police is the national police force and main civil law enforcement agency in Romania. It is subordinated to the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform.-Duties:The Romanian Police are responsible for:...


See also

  • Dumitru Burlan
    Dumitru Burlan
    Dumitru Burlan is a Romanian former Securitate officer.During the communist period, he worked for the Securitate. He was the chief of bodyguards of President Nicolae Ceauşescu, and served once as his stand-in , but was not able to protect Ceauşescu from arrest and execution during the Romanian...

    , Securitate officer, chief bodyguard of President Nicolae Ceauşescu
    Nicolae Ceausescu
    Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

  • Matei Pavel Haiducu
    Matei Pavel Haiducu
    Matei Pavel Haiducu was a Romanian secret agent who defected to France in 1981. He belonged to the "Direcţia Informaţii Externe" of the Securitate.He was born in Bucharest as Matei Pavel Hirsch...

    , Securitate secret agent, defected to France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     in 1981
  • Ion Mihai Pacepa
    Ion Mihai Pacepa
    Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the former Eastern Bloc. He is now a United States citizen, a writer, and a columnist....

    , Securitate general, defected to the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     in 1978
  • List of Senior Securitate Officers

External links

  • Romania - Ministry of Interior and Security Forces Gabriel Catalan, Mircea Stănescu, Scurtă istorie a Securităţii ("Short history of the Securitate"), Sfera Politicii
    Sfera Politicii
    Sfera Politicii is a monthly political science magazine, published in Romania since 1992. Its articles, written in both English and Romanian, deal with diverse issues in local and international politics....

    , Nr. 109 (2004), pp. 38–53.
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