Romaniaâs minister of defense Teodor Atanasiu admitted Wednesday evening, in a live television interview on Realitatea TV, that the military intelligence services were monitoring the leaks to the media originating in the office of the presidential spokesperson Adriana Saftoiu.
"I have a whole intelligence office telling me what information goes off-the-record from Mrs. Saftoiu, so I do not need you to tell me what stories the Presidency wants to put out on the media market," told Atanasiu his interviewer.
Still, he added he "did not believe everything he was told."
The latest information coming from Atanasiu himself adds one more drop to the already full bucket of issues surrounding the ministry of defense in the past days.
A major problem arose when it became public that Atanasiu ordered Romaniaâs military attachÃ©s to inform the authorities in the capital cities they were located in that our country was pulling out of Iraq.
Since the decision did not have the approval of Romaniaâs Supreme Council for Defense the move was perceived by the Presidency as "an attempt of the liberals at a military coup," as Basescu put it.
Adding insult to injury came to the fore the information that military intelligence officers were instructed since last year to expand inside the political and journalistic circles the network of people able to lobby for the Ministry of Defense.
Early this week journalist Doru Dragomir was threatened by Vasile Paun, the deputy head of the military intelligence service, after he published the story about the order given to the military attachÃ©s.
At the same time, however, Atanasiu said he did not trust the very liberal party cronies he appointed to their jobs in the ministry, as Paun and deputy minister Corneliu Dobritoiu.
The repeated requests for comment from both the Ministry of Defense and the Presidency on the recent Atansiu statement were not answered by the two authorities by the time this story went to print.
Translated by ANCA PADURARU