Romanian MPs reacted differently to the resignation of Claudiu Saftoiu, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, as only the Democratic Party seem to defend him. Saftoiu, whose resignation yesterday came after he made a series of blunders in a parliamentary hearing last week, now faces accusations that SIE was breaching human rights by tapping phones on Romanian territory.

Claudiu Saftoiu resigned on Monday after less than half a year in office. Last week, he appeared before a parliamentary commission investigating President Traian Basescu’s alleged unconstitutional acts since named in office. At the hearing, Saftoiu spoke of SIE activities related to tapping phones in Romania, under warrant from the Prosecutor General.

That would be illegal, since SIE is not allowed to run such activities and warrants as these would be delivered by judges, not the Prosecutor General.

Among deputies interviewed by, only a representative of the Democratic Party, Daniel Buda, defended Saftoiu, saying that his statements were “tendentiously interpreted” by MPs.

Social Democrat deputy Florin Iordache and Conservative Party leader Dan Voiculescu said the resignation was a normal gesture considering the seriousness of Saftoiu’s statements. And Voiculescu said the real problem was not the man, but that ‘phones should not be tapped illegally in Romania.

Hungarian Democrat deputy Kelemen Hunor opted to attack Saftoiu for being named in the office “based on political clientele criteria, not competence”, while Liberal Party vice-president Puiu Hasotti said “it was a minimal gesture considering the human rights abuses by SIE… Claudiu Saftoiu should hide in a cave so that we not hear about him for ten years or so”.

MPs agreed yesterday that a special commission be formed to investigate alleged phonetapping activities by SIE. The investigation was called by opposition Social Democrats and Greater Romania Party, with support from the governing Liberals. The Democratic Party, Liberals’ partners in the governing coalition, abstained.