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The Securitate (pronounced , Romanian for Security) was the popular term for the Departamentul Securității Statului (Department of State Security), the secret police agency of Communist Romania. Previously, the Romanian secret police was called Siguranța Statului. It was founded on August 30th, 1948, with help from the Soviet NKVD. Following the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1989, the DSS lived on until 1991, when Parliament approved a law reorganizing the DSS into various subdivisions.

The Securitate was, in proportion to Romania's population, one of the largest secret police forces in the Eastern bloc.[1] The first budget of the Securitate in 1948 stipulated a number of 4,641 positions, of which 3,549 were filled by February 1949: 64% were workers, 4% peasants, 28% clerks, 2% persons of unspecified origin, and 2% intellectuals. By 1951, the Securitate's staff had increased fivefold, while in January 1956, the Securitate had 25,468 employees.[2] Under Ceaușescu, the Securitate employed some 11,000 agents and had a half-million informers[1] for a country with a population of 22 million by 1985.[3] Under Ceaușescu, the Securitate was one of the most brutal secret police forces in the world, responsible for the arrests, torture and deaths of thousands of people.[1]


  • History 1
    • Founding 1.1
    • Method 1.2
    • Downfall 1.3
  • Subdivisions 2
    • General Directorate for Technical Operations 2.1
    • Directorate for Counterespionage 2.2
    • Directorate for Foreign Intelligence 2.3
    • Directorate for Penitentiaries 2.4
    • Directorate for Internal Security 2.5
    • National Commission for Visas and Passports 2.6
    • Directorate for Security Troops 2.7
    • Directorate for Militia 2.8
    • Directorate V 2.9
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6



The General Directorate for the Security of the People (Romanian initials: DGSP, but more commonly just called the Securitate) was officially founded on August 30, 1948, by Decree 221/30 of the Presidium of the King Michael's Coup that took place then.[2] Its stated purpose was to "defend democratic conquests and guarantee the safety of the Romanian Peoples' Republic against both internal and external enemies."

The Securitate was created with the help of Major General Vladimir Mazuru, held the deputy directorships. Wilhelm Einhorn was the first Securitate secretary.

As [4]

Initially, many of the agents of the Securitate were former Royal Security Police (named General Directorate of Safety PoliceDirecția Generală a Poliției de Siguranță in Romanian) members. However, before long, Pantiușa ordered anyone who had served the monarchy's police in any capacity arrested, and in the places of the Royal Security Policemen, he hired ardent members of the Romanian Communist Party, to ensure total loyalty within the organization.


The Securitate surveillance took place in different ways: general intelligence surveillance ("supraveghere informativă generală", abbreviated "S.I.G."); priority intelligence surveillance ("supraveghere informativă prioritară", abbreviated "S.I.P."); clearance file ("mapă de verificare", abbreviated "M.V."); individual surveillance dossier ("dosar de urmarire individuală", abbreviated "D.U.I."); target dossier ("dosar de obiectiv"), the target being, for example, an institute, a hospital, a school or a company; case dossier ("dosar de problemă"), the targets being former political prisoners, former [5]

In the 1980s, the Securitate launched a massive campaign to stamp out dissent in Romania, manipulating the country's population with vicious rumors (such as supposed contacts with Western intelligence agencies), machinations, frameups, public denunciations, encouraging conflict between segments of the population, public humiliation of dissidents, toughened censorship and the repression of even the smallest gestures of independence by intellectuals. Often the term "intellectual" was used by the Securitate to describe dissidents with higher education, such as college and university students, writers, directors and scientists who opposed the philosophy of the Romanian Communist Party. Assassinations were also used to silence dissent, such as the attempt to kill high-ranking defector Ion Mihai Pacepa, who received two death sentences from Romania in 1978, and on whose head Ceauşescu decreed a bounty of two million US dollars. Yasser Arafat and Muammar al-Gaddafi each added one more million dollars to the reward.[6] In the 1980s, Securitate officials allegedly hired Carlos the Jackal to assassinate Pacepa.[7]

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. After coal miners' unions went on strike and several leaders died prematurely, it was later discovered that Securitate doctors had subjected them to five-minute chest X-rays in an attempt to have them develop cancer.[8] 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.[8]

The Securitate's presence was so ubiquitous that it was believed one out of four Romanians was an informer. In truth, the Securitate deployed one agent or informer for every 43 Romanians, which was still 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 Ceauşescu's will. For example, one shadow group of dissidents limited itself to only three families; any more than that would have attracted Securitate attention.[9] In truth, the East German Stasi was even more ubiquitous than the Securitate; counting informers, the Stasi had one spy for every 6.5 East Germans.[10]


After Ceaușescu was ousted, Securitate lived on until 1991, when Parliament approved a law reorganizing the Securitate into a few special and secret services like the SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service) (with internal tasks such as counterespionage), the SIE (Foreign Intelligence Service), the SPP (Protection and Guard Service) (the former Directorate V), the STS (Special Telecommunications Service) (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 messages, as well as placing microphones in both public and private buildings.

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 Foreign Intelligence

The Directorate for Foreign Intelligence conducted Romania's espionage operations in other countries, such as those of Western Europe. Among those operations sanctioned by the Communist government were industrial espionage to obtain nuclear technology, and plots to assassinate dissidents, such as Matei Pavel Haiducu was tasked with, though he informed French authorities, faking the assassinations before defecting to France.

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 (PCR). 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 PCR. 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 PCR officials to ensure total loyalty.

National Commission for Visas and Passports

The National Commission for Visas and Passports 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.[11]

Directorate for Security Troops

The Directorate for Security Troops acted as a 20,000-strong

  • Romania - Ministry of Interior and Security Forces
  • (Romanian) Gabriel Catalan, Mircea Stănescu, Scurtă istorie a Securității ("Short history of the Securitate"), Sfera Politicii, Nr. 109 (2004), pp. 38–53.

External links

  • Crampton, R. J. (1997), Eastern Europe in the twentieth century and after, Routledge,  
  • Turnock, David (1997), The East European economy in context: communism and transition, Routledge,  
  • Lavinia Stan, ed., Transitional Justice in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union: Reckoning with the Communist Past, London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Lavinia Stan and Rodica Milena Zaharia, "Romania's Intelligence Services. Bridge between the East and the West?", Problems of Post-Communism, vol. 54, no. 1 (January 2007), pp. 3–18.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "The Devil's Confessors: Priests, Communists, Spies and Informers", East European Politics and Societies, vol. 19, no. 4 (November 2005), pp. 655–685.
  • Lavinia Stan, "Spies, Files and Lies: Explaining the Failure of Access to Securitate Files", Communist and Post-Communist Studies, vol. 37, no. 3 (September 2004), pp. 341–359.
  • Lavinia Stan, "Moral Cleansing Romanian Style", Problems of Post-Communism, vol. 49, no. 4 (2002), pp. 52–62.
  • Lavinia Stan, "Access to Securitate Files: The Trials and Tribulations of a Romanian Law", East European Politics and Society, vol. 16, no. 1 (December 2002), pp. 55–90.


  1. ^ a b c Craig S. Smith, "Eastern Europe Struggles to Purge Security Services", The New York Times, December 12, 2006
  2. ^ a b c Cristian Troncota, "Securitatea: Începuturile", Magazin Istoric, 1998
  3. ^ Turnock 1997, p. 15
  4. ^ Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2003). ISBN 0-520-23747-1 p. 20
  5. ^ Mares, Clara (No. 273, June 2005). "Prevenirea ca metoda de represiune a Securitatii" (in Romanian). Observator cultural. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Book Inspired Counter-Revolution" by Alfred S. Regnery, published in Human Events, October 22, 2002
  7. ^ "The Securitate Arsenal for Carlos," Ziua, Bucharest, 2004
  8. ^ a b Crampton 1997, p. 355
  9. ^ Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York City:  
  10. ^ The New York Times 
  11. ^ June 29th 1973 Agreement between the Socialist Romania and German Federation
  12. ^ a b c d

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.


See also

Directorate V were bodyguards for important governmental officials.

Directorate V

The Directorate for Militia controlled Romania's Miliția, the standard police force, which carried out tasks such as traffic control. In 1990 it was replaced by the Romanian Police.

Directorate for Militia

After the Revolution, 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.

To ensure total loyalty amongst these crack troops, there were five times as many political officers in the Directorate for Security Troops than there were in the regular army.[12] They adhered to stricter discipline than in the regular military, but they were rewarded with special treatment and enjoyed far superior living conditions compared to their countrymen.[12] They guarded television and radio stations, and PCR buildings and in the event of a coup, would have been called in to protect the regime.

The security troops were directly responsible through the Minister of the Interior to Ceaușescu. They guarded important installations including PCR judet and central office buildings and radio and television stations. The Ceaușescu regime presumably could call the security troops into action as a private army to defend itself against a military coup d'état or other domestic challenges and to suppress antiregime riots, demonstrations, or strikes.[12]


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