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SIS director: Destabilization risk is low to moderate

The recent barrage of hoax bomb threats reported in Moldova can be traced to a number of foreign countries as well as locally, says Alexandru Musteață, director of the Security and Intelligence Service, and the risk of destabilization is low to moderate.

In an interview with Vocea Basarabiei, Musteață said efforts are underway to locate the perpetrators, but the mission is complicated by the fact that the threats are made via email.

“The exact motive of these frequent bomb threats is still under investigation. We and our colleagues from the police, together with the prosecutors, are part of an investigation task force. The anti-terror center, a unit within the SIS, is the entity in charge with analyzing these matters and investigating the source of these threats. The investigations show that a larger group of people is involved, and some of them are not in Moldova; they are also other countries. Requests for information have been sent to those states (…) Threats sent by email are very difficult to trace because of instruments used to hide the IP and location. We go step by step, from location to location, contacting colleagues from other countries to collect data to see where the end point is”, said Musteață.

The SIS director suggests the purpose of these hoaxes is to test Moldova’s response capacities.

“We have several hypotheses and leads that we follow. One hypothesis is the intention to test our capabilities or to keep us busy, or to give the media something to talk about. We are investigating the options to see who is behind these fake bomb threats. At the same time, we are trying to review the response protocols, because checking a building three times a day is not the most efficient thing, and in the case of the Airport, a lot of inconvenience was created. Now we are reviewing the protocols. Not to create a comfort zone for ourselves, but so as not to create discomfort for people”, added Musteață.

Another lead followed is the intention to foment destabilization.

“Our duty is not to allow any destabilization. Our duty is to collect data that could indicate such scenarios and inform decision makers and competent bodies so that they can act. We are now doing a risk analysis. The risk at the moment is low to moderate. The situation is under control, we are making efforts not to allow destabilization”.

To deter hoax bomb threats, the Ministry of Interior is proposing raising prison times for such offenses from the current maximum of 2 years to 5 years, as well as the maximum fines.

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