Romania: Qualifications required to be a member of the Special Anti-Terrorist Fighting Unit (USLA) in 1989-1990 and today (January 1989 - May 2005)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||17 May 2005|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ROM43548.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Romania: Qualifications required to be a member of the Special Anti-Terrorist Fighting Unit (USLA) in 1989-1990 and today (January 1989 - May 2005), 17 May 2005, ROM43548.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df616b2.html [accessed 21 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on the qualifications required to be a member of the Special Anti-Terrorist Fighting Unit (Unitatii Speciale de Lupta Antiterorista – USLA) could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the following information may be useful.
According to the Website of the Romanian Intelligence Service (Serviciul Român de Informatii – SRI), USLA was created on 15 December 1977 in order to counter violent threats against Romanian national security, including threats against important foreign representatives in Romania (n.d.). According to the Bucharest daily Evenimentul Zilei, the SRI was established in March 1990 and included an Anti-Terrorist Brigade
(26 Mar. 2001). While it was unclear whether the USLA was eventually replaced by other units, after 1990, the SRI referred to "specialized units of the Romanian Intelligence Service" and the Inspectorate for Preventing and Fighting Terrorism (SRI n.d.).
In a working paper published by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) (an international foundation that seeks to harmonize state security with democracy) (DCAF n.d.), the Office of the National Security Advisor of the Romanian President briefly outlined the recruiting strategy of the SRI (Feb. 2003). Initially, SRI leadership trained its personnel through its own university, the National Intelligence Institute (DCAF Feb. 2003). Most recruits were a product of "talent spotters" who would hire 16- to 18-year-olds directly from high school, after which they would enrol in "a standard four-year university program in a 'hothouse' intelligence environment" (ibid.). However, by 2001, this recruitment and training strategy was found to be ineffective, the institute "was dissolved as a university," and the SRI began a new campaign of "open recruitment" aimed exclusively at university graduates (ibid.). In addition, the training period was shortened to less than one year (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Evenimentul Zilei [Bucharest, in Romanian]. 26 March 2001. OC Hogea, Dan Badea. "Former Intelligence Service Chiefs Return – the 'Quarter Past Two' Brain Goes to the Romanian Intelligence Service." (FBIS-EEU-2001-0326) (Dialog)
Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). February 2003. Larry L. Watts. Control and Oversite of Security Intelligence in Romania.
_____. n.d. "Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
Romanian Intelligence Service (Serviciul Român de Informatii – SRI). n.d. "Anti-Terrorist Actions in Romania."
Additional Sources Consulted
An Associate Professor of History at Indiana University specializing in Romania.
An Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University and the Director of the Centre for Post-Communist Societes at St. Francis Xavier University, both specializing in Romania, did not respond to requests for information.
Romanian Intelligence Service (Serviciul Român de Informatii – SRI), Bucharest.
Internet Sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), United States Department of State, World News Connection (WNC).