On that last Sunday of June 1978 the workaholic president of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, was waiting for me in his enormous library. I found him pacing around in circles, hand inside his lapel, and going as fast as his stubby legs could propel his short frame. He had spent many hours in front of the mirror perfecting his Napoleonic walk. Napoleon, also five-foot-four, was his idol.
A couple of months before that, Ceausescu had appointed me chief of his Presidential House. That was a position he had invented the previous April, during a triumphant visit to Washington—where I had accompanied him—but in the new job he had also included the day-to-day handling of Romania’s domestic and foreign intelligence services. It was like being the White House chief of staff and head of the Department for Homeland Security at the same time. All of a sudden my life was turned upside down and inside out. Not that I had enjoyed a normal life before that, when I had been just his national security adviser and acting chief of his foreign intelligence service, the DIE, but at least I had once in a while been able to draw a free breath. Not anymore.
“What's new with our man in Dunãrea?” Ceausescu shouted across the room the moment he spotted me. It struck me that his Chinese-red dressing gown with the gold frog clasps perfectly complemented the gold brocade covering the walls of his sumptuous library and the thick red carpet on the floor, but it was odd how such silky opulence made him appear even more gnome-like.
“Dunãrea,” the Romanian name for the Danube, was the codename for an operation involving heavy water. Ceausescu wanted to produce nuclear weapons that he could secretly sell to terrorist states, and heavy water was his first step toward attaining that dream. Our man in “Dunãrea” was a DIE illegal officer documented as a Western engineer who had gotten himself hired by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, where he had been given a top-secret clearance.
Fortunately, I did have some good news that I could use to stave off another of Ceausescu's legendary outbursts of wrath whenever he disliked what he was hearing. The week before, I reported, we had brought this man into Romania “black” (secretly), to give him Ceausescu’s orders. The cover for his absence from work, I explained, had been a long getaway weekend on the Spanish island of Majorca, and now he was already back in Canada.
“No slip-ups?” Ceausescu asked. Espionage was his hobby.
I reported that another of my illegal officers had taken the man’s place vacationing in Palma de Majorca, and that the tips he had given the hotel personnel had been fat enough for them to remember him by. The two illegal officers, I pointed out, could pass for twins. To be on the safe side, I added, my illegal had also mailed a bunch of post cards from there back to Canada.
Ceausescu allowed himself a smile. Any deception gave him a high. He stopped in front of me, grabbed one of the buttons of my jacket and lowered his voice. “Would it be dangerous to have the Dunãrea plant built in Scornicesti?” Ceausescu giggled. Envisioning his little native town as the heart of Romania’s nuclear program exited him.
As I remember, I paused for a moment, pretending to admire the 24-volume sets of his collected speeches lining the library walls. “There's just one little problem, though,” I ventured.
“Out with it!” Ceausescu’s beady eyes shot me a wary look. “Where's the shit?” he asked nervously, anxious to get the bad news out in the open, where he could deal with it. “Do the Canadians suspect our man in Dunãrea?”
By then I had learned that with Ceausescu the best tactic was to let him guess for himself what the bad news was, rather than hit him over the head with it. Ceausescu loved to watch whodunit movies, but only those in which he could anticipate the next move. He despised Hitchcock, whom he could never outguess.
The problem was not with our man in Dunãrea, I answered. He was as clean as a hound’s tooth. I tried to set the scene to help Ceausescu along. The Canadians, I said, needed several hundred experts just to design their heavy water installations, and that was without counting the ones involved in constructing, and now in managing, their heavy water plant.
“Got it!” Ceausescu exclaimed, snapping his fingers. “You want to say we don't have experts, right?” His expression took on a sly glint. “Well, that's why I torture myself by putting up with you, mon cher.”
Time to get it out, I thought, when I saw Ceausescu winking in complicity. I said that it would take Romania a lot less time to build the factory as a joint venture with the Canadians, than if we tried to steal its blue prints and do it all by ourselves. Here I stopped, to read my boss's face. Taking the offensive was a good tactic to use with him, but only up to a certain point. The trick was not to go beyond that point.
Ceausescu looked puzzled. Then he let go of my jacket button. “N-Never! If the C-Canadians could do it, we should be able to do it b-better!” Canada was only three hundred years old, he reasoned, raising his voice to a full-throated scream, while Romania had been around for over two thousand years.
High time to beat a retreat. “I've got a new movie for you, if you like—one about Napoleon.”
“Where is it?” Ceausescu asked, dropping his stutter.
“In the trunk of my car. It won't take me five minutes to have it set up in your movie theater.”
“What are we waiting for?” Ceausescu led the way out of the library with eager step and vigorously swinging arms. The rhythmic clickety-click as his heeltaps hit the marble floor echoed down the corridor after him.
Ceausescu spent his life dreaming about becoming a Communist Napoleon, and he almost succeeded. Like Napoleon, he rose to the rank of general, built his country into a monument to himself, and became a political idol for most of Europe. Eventually, also like Napoleon, Ceausescu lost the confidence of his army, abdicated from power, was sent into exile, and got killed by his own guards, who feared he would return to power.
Ceausescu was born on January 26, 1918 in what was then the small village of Scornicesti, in southern Romania. When he was 11, his father sent him off to Bucharest, the nation's capital, to work as a shoemaker's apprentice. In 1929 the New York Stock Exchange crashed, and Romania’s economy was also thrown into crisis. Ceausescu, who had no oher horizon in life, hastened to join the anti-capitalist communist movement ignited by the collapse of the economy. In 1938 he was arrested as a "dangerous communist agitator" and sent to a concentration camp at Tîrgu Jiu. There he became the cellmate of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who after World War II would enthrone himself as the ruler of Communist Romania.
In 1948 Dej sent Ceausescu to Moscow to attend a military school for political commissars. Afterward Dej anointed his protégé with the rank of general and charged him to coordinate Romania’s military and security forces.
Between 1948 and 1964, when Ceausescu was the Securitate’s political commissar, over half million people were arrested, interrogated, tortured or killed by this terrible institution. It was headed by Soviet general Panteleymon Bondarenko (Romanianized under the alias Gheorghe Pintilie), indoctrinated by Ceausescu, and managed by an army of KGB intelligence officers or agents.
In December 1964, Dej expelled his Soviet advisers and appointed Romanians in their place. I became one of those new advisers. On Sunday, February 21, 1965, I was conferring with Dej at his winter residence in Predeal. He had just returned from Moscow, and as usual I found him with his best friend, Chivu Stoica, at that time the president of Romania. Dej complained of feeling weak, dizzy, nauseous. "I think the KGB got me," he remarked, only half in jest.
From KGB general Alexandr Sakharovsky, who had created the Securitate after the war and by the 1960s was back in Moscow serving as chief of Soviet foreign intelligence, we knew that Dej’s decision to expel the Soviet advisers had raised hell in Moscow. Vladimir Semichastny, the KGB chairman, was raging mad. "He's ready to tear Dej limb from limb with his own two hands." Aleksandr Shelepin, nicknamed "Iron Shurik," the Politburo member in charge of the KGB, was also seeing red.
"They got Togliatti. That's for sure," Stoica now squeaked ominously. He was sure that the deceased Italian Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti had been irradiated by the KGB during his vacation in Yalta in August 1964, because he had publicly criticized Khrushchev's policies.
During the March 12, 1965 elections for Romania's Grand National Assembly, Gheorghiu-Dej still looked vigorous and full of life. On March 19, he died of a galloping form of cancer, and I became engulfed in the succession struggle that brought Ceausescu to the throne.
At least until recently, Americans have tended to assume that a Communist leader was a Communist leader. In fact, they were as different as day and night. Lenin was a Western educated revolutionary genius who gathered millions under his red banner through ideological inspiration alone. Stalin, who grew up as the son of a drunken cobbler in the far reaches of the Transcaucasus, had no experience whatsoever with democracy and party politics; to him the normal structure for a country was the traditional Russian form of totalitarian autocracy. Khrushchev was a compulsive chatterbox who filled his speeches with distortions and flat-out lies. Brezhnev was an ankylotic Marxist who reversed Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization. Gorbachev was as opposite to Brezhnev as human mind could imagine. In fact, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for re-reversing what Brezhnev had originally reversed.
Communist Romania produced only two leaders but they, too, were very different. Gheorghiu-Dej was a six-foot-tall, well-built man who inspired confidence and exuded warmth. The five-foot-four Ceausescu was in a constant state of agitation, spattered saliva all around when he spoke, and contorted his face to overcome his stutter. Dej, who represented the "national wing" of the Communist Party, did not set foot in the Soviet Union until becoming Romania's leader, and he never stayed in Moscow more than a couple of days afterward. Ceausescu was indoctrinated in Moscow at the peak of Stalin's cult of personality. Dej was a Marxist who paid scant attention to material things. Ceausescu was a megalomaniac who paid lip service to Marxism only to achieve his own ends. Dej was a party apparatchik. Ceausescu did not care a rap about the party. An insider with the intelligence services, he used them as his main instrument for running the country and for slaking his insatiable thirst for power.
Dej started his rule by having the secretary general of the Communist Party, Stefan Foris, assassinated and then taking his place. Ceausescu began by having the chief of the Securitate, General Alexandru Draghici, framed as a criminal, and by turning this political police against his main competitor, the president of Romania, Chivu Stoica.
Concealed Securitate microphones showed that Stoica had a drinking problem. Using this information, Ceausescu convinced him that he was unfit to be president and persuaded him to resign, on the promise that he would be kept on as an honorary figure for the rest of his life. Soon, Ceausescu made himself president of Romania and demoted Stoica from all his positions. On February 18, 1975 the latter committed suicide.
After disposing of his rival, Ceausescu began building his own brand of Marxism. Many people assume that Marxists are ideologically motivated revolutionaries. Perhaps that may have been true in the early days of Communism, but even back then it never applied to the leader.
As time went on, Marxism became a mere vehicle used by the Communist rulers to consolidate their personal power, thereby attesting to that doctrine's infinite adaptability. Lenin changed Marxism so much that his followers ended up calling it "Leninism." Stalin put Marxism, Leninism, Hegel's dialectics and Feuerbach's materialism into one mixing bowl and came up with his own, simplified political doctrine, which he dubbed "Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism." Under Gorbachev, Marxism became glasnost and perestroika.
Ceausescu fashioned a ludicrous mixture of Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, nationalism, Roman arrogance and Byzantine fawning. His “Ceausism” was so slippery, undefined and ever-changing that he filled 34 volumes of his collected works without being able to describe it.
Ceausescu provided the definitive proof that Marxism is nothing but a colossal swindle.
Once firmly settled in the saddle, Ceausescu started secretly filling the most important positions in the government bureaucracy with undercover Securitate officers. This was like introducing wartime militarization, but it was accomplished by the political police. Ceausescu was convinced this measure would stop the theft and bureaucratic chaos that had became a general plague under Communism.
In order to retain the loyalty of that underground army, Ceausescu heaped material privileges upon it. All Securitate officers who worked undercover inside the state apparatus were remunerated with cash bonuses and with tax-free supplements over and above their nominal salaries, deposited to secret personal accounts. These secret perks amounted to significant cash—they made my salary as head of the Presidential House higher than that of the Politburo members, and only a few lei under that of the prime minister, who was the number-two man in the country.
Over the years, the lines separating the top leadership of the party and the government from the political police had blurred as well. In August 1978 the Western media reported that my defection had unleashed the greatest political purge in the history of Communist Romania. As a result of it, Ceausescu had demoted four politburo members, fired one third of his cabinet and replaced 22 ambassadors. All were undercover Securitate officers whose military documents and pay vouchers I had regularly signed off on.
Ceausescu never trusted anybody. Therefore, most members of his politburo and government had Securitate microphones concealed in every nook and cranny of their offices and homes. Even Ceausescu’s children were electronically monitored day and night. Between February 1972 and July 1978, when I broke with Communism, I supervised Ceausescu’s ultra-secret unit charged with electronically monitoring his top nomenklatura, and I was truly amazed at the penetrating power of this devious procedure.
Throughout those years, I felt as if I were observing a goldfish bowl in which all the Romania’s bigwigs, their wives and their children were swimming around buck-naked. Of course, I knew the Securitate had mikes on me too, covering everyplace I might be found, from my offices all the way to my bedroom and bathroom.
That was Ceausescu’s Communism.
Each Communist ruler, in his heyday, ascended the throne driven by the secret ambition to hang onto it for the rest of his life. Ceausescu also dreamed of establishing the first Communist dynasty. When I broke with Communism, his wife was second in command and his son Nicu—the designated heir—belonged to the party leadership.
They say that behind every successful man you’ll find a strong woman. The harridan behind Ceausescu was an illiterate master of deception. Cleverness was the only métier she had really mastered, but that enabled her to become a snake oil salesman who could smooth talk people far and wide.
Elena Ceausescu, aka Lenuta, (née Petrescu, on January 7, 1919 into a peasant family in the small village of Petresti, near Bucharest), failed all her subjects in elementary school—except for needlework, singing and gymnastics—and left it before fourth grade to work in the fields with her father. In the mid-1930s Elena moved to Bucharest, where she found work as a janitor in a chemical lab, before going on to an unskilled job at a textile factory. She married Nicolae Ceausescu in 1945, and after the Communists seized power she was awarded a sinecure as a secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 1965, when Ceausescu grasped Romania’s helm, Elena was propelled upward as the chairman of ICECHIM, the country’s main chemical research institute. When I first met her, she told me she was a chemical engineer, just as I was. To back up her story, my DIE was soon required to fabricate an engineering diploma for her to display on the wall of her new office.
In March 1967 I was called by Ceausescu. "The party didn’t put us where we are, just to make the capitalists rich," he ruminated. After pausing to allow these words of wisdom to sink in, he explained: "It’s not only moral but also a lot cheaper to steal from capitalists than to buy from them." After another pregnant pause, Ceausescu told me he wanted my DIE to steal the technology and blueprints of a polystyrene factory that a French Company was trying to sell to Romania. "And mouth shut, or else kkkkkch!" He drew a finger across his throat.
In the mid-1970s Ceausescu inaugurated what he termed the "jewel in the crown" of Romanian chemical industry: a modern polystyrene factory “designed by ICECHIM scientists.” Ceausescu was also present when two Romanian universities rewarded Elena for this "amazing" accomplishment by conferring upon her the titles of doctor of science and university professor. The polystyrene factory became a mecca for witnesses to the "Golden Age" of Nicolae Ceausescu.
Soon after that, Elena insisted that I obtain an American academic title for her. That was no problem. American academia was eager to help. On Elena’s 1978 visit to Washington I arranged a ceremony at Blair House in Washington inducting her as an honorary member of the Illinois Academy of Science.
It did not take long for both Ceausescus to begin acting as if they simply owned the whole country of Romania. By the time I broke with them, they would alternately take up residence in 21 lavish palaces and 41 villas, and the list of their official positions and titles filled an entire page.
As he stepped in the 1970s, Ceausescu began proclaiming himself a "secular god," and he decided to extend the gospel of his cult beyond the Romanian border as well. In his view, the West had reached the point where it was eager to encourage the least sign of thaw in a Communist leader, and he wanted to cash in on that. As he put it, he had to perfume his Communism with “a dab of democracy” and to make “the gullible fools in the West” believe he admired their culture. Accordingly, my DIE’s disinformation machinery was to wine and dine sympathetic Western politicians and journalists so as to “plant the seeds” of Ceausescu’s new image in their minds. Then we were supposed to water those seeds, until they bore fruit.
Ceausescu’s prophecy proved to be correct. A steady stream of front-page articles on Romania started appearing in the United States and Western Europe. To Western eyes, the tyrant looked like a new breed of Communist ruler, one the West could do business with, and his oppressed Romania almost seemed to be a normal country—a place where people could criticize their government, listen to Western symphonies, read foreign books and even point to their stylish First Lady. (Here it must be remembered what dowdy and almost invisible wives the other Communist dictators had in those days.) The press delighted in Ceausescu’s “pro-Western stand” and depicted him as a “maverick” among Communist leaders.
Today almost no one remembers that until not long ago the bloodthirsty Ceausescu was the West’s fair-haired boy. Contemporary political memory seems to be increasingly afflicted with a kind of convenient Alzheimer disease. In 1978, however, just a couple of months before I was granted political asylum in the United States, Ceausescu had ended his fourth and most triumphant trip to Washington, and he had then taken a historic drive throughout London with Queen Elizabeth in the British royal coach.
I had prepared both those official visits, and I had also been at his right hand during them, so I had heard for myself how almost everybody who was anybody in Washington and London had sung glowing praises to him. President Jimmy Carter himself publicly hailed Ceausescu as a “great national and international leader.” Daily the American and British media and members of both governments also described Ceausescu as a man who had done more for Romania than had any of his predecessors, a new kind of Communist leader, independent of everyone and everything, the only East European ruler who had dared to defy Moscow.
During those years I learned that once a lie takes root in the popular imagination, almost nothing could extirpate it. Two U.S. presidents would visit Bucharest to pay Ceausescu tribute—none had ever gone there before.
In 1978, after I had been granted political asylum, I disassembled the mechanism of Ceausescu’s disinformation operation and laid its parts out on the table for all to see. After that, Ceausescu never again set foot in Washington. Once the darling of international politics, he was forced to retreat into the crumbling castle that his country had become, and to pull the drawbridge to the world up after him.
After alternately shouting with rage and cowering with fear, Ceausescu decided to act, to get revenge. In 1980 his foreign intelligence service—my old bailiwick—tasked the terrorist “Carlos the Jackal” (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez) to assassinate me in the U.S. and to destroy the Münich headquarters of Radio Free Europe (RFE), which was infuriating Ceausescu by publicizing my revelations. For these operations, Ceausescu’s foreign intelligence service supplied “Carlos” with 400 pounds of plastic explosive EPH/88, 28 anti-tank grenades, seven submachine guns, 8 revolvers and one million dollars. Carlos could not find me, but on February 21, 1981 he exploded a 20-pound plastic bomb at RFE headquarters in Munich, injuring eight employees. Five Romanian diplomats assigned to West Germany were expelled because of their involvement in this bloody operation. Nevertheless, RFE relentlessly continued to unmask Ceausecu’s lies.
With his ambition to trick the rest of the world swept out from under him, Ceausescu confined his energies to transforming Romania into a monument to himself. In 1984 he finished the first stage of a waterway that was eventually intended to connect his native town of Scornicesti with the Mediterranean via a Danube-Black Sea Canal. To build that canal Ceausescu employed 360,000 laborers who, according to a U.S. Congress report, excavated more earth than had been dug for the combined Suez and Panama Canals.
Ceausescu also kept busy by constructing a presidential palace conceived to be larger than the Louvre, along with a marble Pantheon in which his mortal remains were to rest. Before he left this world, he had torn down some 18,000 buildings in downtown Bucharest to make room for these monuments to himself. All the while, his people were starving. According to Radio Free Europe, for the entire year of 1987 each Romanian was permitted 0.5 kg of sausage, 10.5 kg of sugar (an illusion anyway, since sugar was rarely available), 2.5 kg of flour, 8.5 kg of cornmeal, and a grand total of ten eggs!
On that miserable diet, the women of Romania were required by law to bear at least five children, because Ceausescu wanted “to spread Communism by increasing the population of Romania to 30 million by the year 2000.” Within a few short years, hundreds of thousands of abandoned children were crammed into dilapidated orphan asylums. Hepatitis B and tuberculosis became common, AIDS turned endemic, and syphilis was pandemic.
On December 22, 1989 Ceausescu was overthrown by angry masses of people who had burst forth into the streets of Bucharest. Three days later he and his wife were executed for genocide.
Over the course of the next 16 years, Romania was transformed in unprecedented ways. Her borders have been thrown open to everyone. The freedoms of press, assembly and religion have been restored. Commerce and communication with the rest of the world have become a daily reality, and private ownership of property is being institutionalized. Romanian cultural life is reviving, and a new generation of intellectuals is struggling to develop a new national identity. The barriers the Communists spent over 40 years erecting between themselves and the rest of the world, as well as between individual Romanians, are slowly coming down.
Ceausescu’s legacy, though, has not been entirely uprooted. When Americans think of Romania, two images typically come to mind: the ghastly television shots of emaciated orphans chained to their iron cribs, and the mental views of Ceausescu’s Securitate, the most villainous political police in Eastern Europe.
In 1989, when Ceausescu was shot, he left behind some 300,000 orphans who were literally starving for food and love. That tragedy has since been rectified, but the calamity of Ceausescu’s Securitate is still largely in place.
Communism was founded on the fundamental principle that the government should own all the country's industrial, financial and agricultural property. In other words, stealing became a national policy on the day the first Communist state was born. Every Communist ruler became expert at stealing. The megalomaniacal Ceausescu and his predatory wife outdid all the others, because of their purely personal ambitions—they wanted to enrich themselves, their royal children and the rest of the Ceausescu dynasty. In 1978, when I broke with Communism, Ceausescu had over $400 million in private bank accounts secretly managed by my DIE.
After the tyrant was executed, the Romanians were presented with a neo-Ceausescu kind of theft performed by old Communist bureaucrats, who created a decline in industrial production, generated inflation, and broadened social inequities. Therefore, after a period of upheaval, quite a few Romanians began feeling nostalgic for the old police state. Good or bad, the Securitate seemed to be their only defense against the rapacity of the new capitalists beginning to flex their muscles in Romania.
That popular attitude was manna from heaven for the nouveaux riches running Romania, who knew only the old Soviet way of governing a country with the help of the political police. In 1994, their crypto-Communist government published The White Book of the Securitate, a gigantic disinformation slog (four volumes, 1,947 pages) alleging that this criminal institution had in fact served the country’s national interest in a certain historical period, and that its former officers should be retained in Romania’s new secret services—just as former KGB officers were retained in Russia’s.
The law for the organization of Romania’s intelligence services passed in March 1990, when the Securitate’s crimes were still vivid in people’s minds, stated: "Persons who have been members of the repressive structures of the totalitarian state or have committed abuses, Securitate informants and collaborators, or former Communist Party activists cannot be employed by the Romanian Intelligence Service." Those conditions were, however, glaringly at odds with the thousands of former Securitate officers buried within the country’s new intelligence services. Therefore, that law was quietly changed to state that only "persons who have been found guilty of crimes against fundamental human rights and against freedom" could not be employed by the Romanian intelligence services. In other words, only a Ceausescu is now ineligible for employment in these organizations.
Today, Romania has seven major secret services—more than any other European country. As of 2004, some 50% of their personnel were still former Securitate officers, according to data published by the Romanian government.
Hangmen do not incriminate themselves. Today, over 200,000 anti-Communists who were killed or tortured by the Securitate in its 230 prisons and extermination camps are still not rehabilitated. Ion Stana, who helped the U.S. fight Communism during the Cold War, is a glaring example. In 1985 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for cooperating with the CIA. He was released from jail a day after Ceausescu was executed, but in 1992 Romania’s “democratic” justice system decided he should be required to complete his sentence. He was immediately granted political asylum in the U.S. In February 2004 Mr. Stana, who is now an American citizen, asked Romanian justice to cancel his sentence. On April 19, 2004, his request was denied. “The Court that sentenced Mr. Stana,” the written answer stated, “established his guilt correctly and completely.” In other words the justice system of today’s Romania still uphold Ceausescu’s heresy that America is an enemy of Romania. That is not surprising. In 2004, 202 out of the 345 employees of the Ministry of Justice were former Communist judges or Securitate officers, all of whom had been trained to consider the U.S. the main enemy.
Tom Gallagher, who teaches the evolution of post-Communist states at Bradford University in the U.K., concluded that Romania had moved from a system of rigid equalitarianism to one of super-inequalitarism run by corrupt ex-Communists who pay lip service to democracy. This “new predatory elite” has “widened the gap between a parasitic state and a demoralized society.” This is also the subject of his last book, Romania since Communism: The Denial of Democracy (Hurst, 2004), which concludes that “a Romania under the control of corrupt ex-Communists “threatens to be a force for regional instability.”
On November 23, 2002, when the Romanians were officially told that their country had been received in NATO, a rainbow appeared in the Bucharest sky. President George W. Bush, who was visiting Bucharest for the occasion, said: “God is smiling at us.” And God did smile on Romania. The elections of December 2004 kicked the crypto-Communists out of power. A few months later the newly elected president, Traian Basescu, born in 1951, confidently strode into Washington as the head of a country that— for the first time in 60 years — had a government without Communists in its leadership. And there he announced another significant Romanian first: the creation of a Bucharest-London-Washington axis.
President Basescu is not a professional politician—until now he had never been the president of anything. He was a sea captain, used to sailing through international waters. Many Romanians now hope that he will pilot his new ship out of the rough waters of Ceausescu’s police state.
Over the years, November 18 marked two epochal events in the world. In 1302 Pope Boniface VIII issued the papal bull Unam Sanctam (“The One Holy”), and in 1626 St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated. On November 18, 2005 there occurred another event that could become epochal, at least for Romania: the former Securitate officers were removed from the top management of Romania’s foreign intelligence service.
On January 27, 2006, the president of Romania recalled five ambassadors. Most of them had been my subordinates in the DIE. On that same day the president also retired 27 top judges and 8 top prosecutors who had served Ceausescu’s tyranny.
It is now also time for the government of Romania to condemn Communism’s crimes. All the other former Soviet bloc countries, except Russia, have long since done so.
In December 1989 Ceausescu was executed at the end of a trial whose accusations came almost word-for-word out of General Ion Pacepa's book Red Horizons (Regnery, 1987), republished in 27 countries.