How the James Comey-promoted FBI cooperation with the homologue institutions in Romania empowered, by its lack of credible checks, a group of corrupt politicians and their high-ranked police accomplices to victimize their political enemies, and, alongside, an American citizen, deprived for years of his basic civil rights
This article refers to the high human cost of the so-called cooperation (read complicity) between the two countries’ investigative services, where the US Department of State and the FBI Regional Office in Bucharest willfully closed their eyes to massive violations of human rights by the Romanian authorities, all in the name of the advancement of US strategic goals at a particular moment in time.
Unlike most articles in this blog, this one refers strictly to the responsibility of the US authorities to protect the rights of their own citizens when the authorities of an allied country knowingly infringe these rights. Special caution should have been taken in the case of Romania, a country universally considered so corrupt, anti-corruption hearings in front of a US Senator chaired committee are deemed necessary at regular intervals.
Under these circumstances, knowing that US federal funds are spent training Romanian judicial and police experts in the fight against corruption, the excuse used in this particular case, that of lack of leverage by the US authorities, is patently absurd and, worse, in bad faith. If anything, published guidelines for demanding precise information about the evidence used in the accusations against the American citizens involved are widely available, even on the US embassies own websites.
There is plenty of evidence (including diplomatic communications exposed by WikiLeaks), where selective interventions were, in fact, made by the US Embassy in Bucharest on behalf of other American citizens, with a clear preference for multimillionaire American citizens. The total US blackout regarding this case will only encourage future abuses in Romania.
This is a bare-bones presentation. The fully detailed version adds 1o tightly spaced pages of arguments to these two and it is available on demand
My name is Nicholas Jordan and for 14 years (November 2003 – May 2017) I endured a needless persecution from the Romanian authorities (while the US embassy in Romania refused to even acknowledge my plight), only to have every single accusation against me retracted within three weeks in May of this year. I want an explanation. So far no one had given me a straight answer. And, obviously, I was but one of many victims; as an American though, I was the most publicized foreign villain the regime could find.
I therefore offer for consideration my own example.
I am an American citizen and, unfortunately, the victim of an unending investigation in the country of my birth, Romania, where, for over a decade, I was accused of being an impostor, based on nothing but hearsay and innuendo so emphatically out of context, the entire debacle was better suited to a Franz Kafka novel—a third-rate pulp version of Kafka, that is.
At the very least, James Comey played a mentoring role to the borderline Kafkas from Romania. About the same time in the spring of 2015 while he was chastising at length Poland and Hungary for their very real fallings, the FBI director has this to say about their close geographical neighbor, waxing poetically on the first day of his visit there about his “privilege” to be in Romania to “celebrate one of the best partnerships that FBI has in the entire world: we commit to maintain this friendship and to assure our partners in Romania and worldwide that we shall collaborate to defend our citizens.” A celebration hard to understand in a country where populist slogans („We’ll never sell our motherland to foreign interests, never!”, but they it was sold anyway) combined with the highest/second highest (take your pick) level of corruption in Europe produced leaders that made the Hungarian and Polish PMs look like two naughty kindergarten kids.
The gentleman on the right, the former General Inspector of the Romanian Police and ex-director of the National Anti-drug Agency (ANA), Pavel Abraham, is currently a high-powered lawyer. By virtue of Washington’s stamp of approval, Mr. Abraham and a small mafia-like clan of local leaders felt invulnerable. As a lawyer, Paul Abraham had become nowadays an ubiquitous presence on most TV channels from Romania’s capital, Bucharest and his opinions are broadcast across the country, despite of an obvious lack of familiarity with the Romanian jurisprudence. He’s relevant to my particular story, because he took an active part in it, although he stands out mainly by his incompetence and non-stop lying. In this blog, an article with his name in the title enumerates his serial gaffes. It is in Romanian, but I will translate it into English soon. Anyway, I have a long series of clips where he could be seen in action.
And so, the end result of Mr. Comey’s so-called „partnership” proved to be nothing but a toxic combination of targeted press campaigns and made-to-order judicial investigations designed to victimize political enemies and, as collateral damage, innocent bystanders (and I am one of them). The very citizens James Comey was obligated by law to defend (obligated as well by the very words he uttered in public) were tossed away. Despite the uplifting speeches during his visit, the FBI director forgot to demand a level of built-in civil rights protection for the ordinary citizens, regardless if they were Romanian or American.
I repeat, I’m an American. I became an American citizen decades ago. During that time I made occasional visits to Romania (with one extended stay-over there during the early ’90’s) to see my parents and, after their death, to inquire about our large family estate, confiscated by the communist regime in 1950. During that time, I even managed to publish in Romanian one of my novels, „Ashman”, „Omul de cenușă,” written originally in English and translated by myself. It was well received. I sill have the scrapbook with the newspaper articles, my interviews and the occasional letter from the fans.
My identity had never been questioned (and, anyway, in Bucharest I have dozens, if not hundreds of people who could vouch for who I am even today) until, following a gradual rapprochement to the West, newly established retrocession laws returned, at least on paper, the dozens of confiscated family apartments to me. Their exact number according to the nationalization decree was 128 and that’s what exactly I did ask for.
That’s how it all started: when the courts, based on all the documentation I provided, returned to me a part of my father’s estate, just chunks of six buildings, but for me it was a beginning. I hoped to receive at least a fair compensation for the dozens of apartments sold illegally by the Romanian authorities through Fondul Proprietatea, a huge corporation created by the Romanian state for that exact reason, compensation. As the fund was supervised by Franklin Templeton, an American company and the sole administrator. I had high hopes, but I never seen a dime. A way through which the Romanian authorities (or at least the portion involved in acquiring real estate at minimal prices) could prevent me from exercising my rights was to suddenly declare me an enemy of the people, with the added benefit of throwing on my back the entire housing crisis, which had nothing to with me.
Suddenly the 128 apartments (from which I had received less than half) became 128 locuințe, as you could see in the picture above;128 locuințe translates as 128 buildings („an entire neighborhood” trumpeted the Antena 3 TV chanel), which were returned illegally to me, an impostor, totaling hundreds of apartments from where hundreds maybe thousands of tenants were suddenly in danger of being evicted. So, although I had received the ownership certificates, I couldn’t even take possession of most of the apartments returned to me, yet, of course, all these years I had to pay taxes for all of them, otherwise they would have been confiscated (as I was reminded numerous times).
There was, still is, a single overriding issue in discussion: am I Nicolae Minciulescu, known after the US naturalization as Nicholas Jordan, or am I an impostor who somehow took his place?
This simple question, which anywhere else in the civilized world should have been resolved on the spot, took a very curious turn. Due to already existing and still-in-place immigration procedures, both countries had for decades my fingerprints, my birth certificate and, from then on, the succession of age modified pictures clearly representing the same person on all kinds of ID cards/documents conceivable, including old cancelled passports, all the detritus of a life spent traveling.
Most of my documents have been scanned and could be found on this site, www.minciulescu.com, or they could be produced on request as they have been digitalized years ago. The issue should have been brought already to a resolution. Eventually, if not immediately. It is the law, even in Romania.
Then why, I want to know, prolong and renew endlessly an investigation for FOURTEEN years and practically put my life on hold? The police started the investigation AFTER the highest court in the land (in order to return my properties) had already recognized my identity in March 2000 and the resulting document bore the seal of the presidency of Romania. Not a single fact has been uncovered since that day. The whole charade was pure political theatre.
This is the reason I request an American-led investigation on what happened to me, at least in the area where the American institutions were concerned, regardless if the Romanian side accepts to cooperate or not. So far, my request has been denied without explanation on every channel I tried, be it the FBI, be it the State Department, right here in the US.
To my numerous demands of assistance for “an American in distress,” the US embassy in Bucharest had simply refused to answer in writing, except for an occasional boilerplate text, suitable to anything else, but what I had specifically asked. Considering that already a decade earlier, at the beginning of the scandal, Stephanie A. Bunce, the embassy ACS officer, had issued me without fuss, within the hour, an affidavit of identity destined to the Romanian police, the current ACS officer refusal to acknowledge even that very fact was, to me, puzzling.
Even the most cursory glance shows the names involved immediately.
„To all those so interested:
After a thorough study of the documents presented to the Embassy, it can be attested that the American citizen Nicholas Jordan, born on March 17, 1946, in Romania, identified with American Passport no 120394662 issued on September1 1995 in Honolulu is one and the same person with Nicolae Minciulescu, born on the same date.
Mr. Jordan is in possession of a Decision, no 184362, issued by the General Inspectorate of Police, through which his request to change his name from Nicolae Minciulescu to Nicholas Jordan was approved. Consequently, the mention of the name change was inscribed in the Romanian passport no. D-224925 issued May 29, 1990, and on July 26, 2001, he was issued Romanian Passport 05493784 under the name Nicholas Jordan.”
A simple “We find no merit in your claims” would have been but one in a range of several equally reasonable answers that I might have accepted. There never was any kind of explanation, just plain bureaucratese, nothing but continuous stonewalling. Of course, it seemed suspicious.
Significantly, when visiting Bucharest in October 2014, the previous US ambassador to Romania informed his successor at the embassy helm, Dean Thompson, the US Charge d’Affaires, about a “very disturbing note” (his own words) he’d received from me (via an incredibly circuitous route, through his Hong Kong office). No action followed in that occasion either, just the same total blackout.
When an American citizen had become front page news all over Romania and so many lurid stories about his „true” identity were circulating widely, angering the easy-to-inflame poorest segment of the population, someone should have paid attention, yet the US embassy acted as if everything was just business as usual. A hidden agenda behind the silence seemed the only explanation.
Meanwhile, new documents relating to the Jordan case (and even to Mr. Gitenstein case, as unfortunately and very much like me, he was set up with unfounded accusations by a former director in the Romanian Ministry of Justice)—all of those had found their way into my possession. Other people, not just me, consider them sufficient proof that a lot more than just negligence was at play behind the seemingly bureaucratic wall of apathy. Check for example these two articles published in Medium:
I discovered only much later that the same US Charge d’Affaires, Dean Thompson, Ambassador’s Gienstein second in command, had accompanied James Comey to all his meetings, when the FBI director was the next US VIP to visit Romania.
On March 3, 2015, James Comey, with Dean Thompson at his side, made public his “Defend our citizens” stand and his entire speech was quoted at length by all the Romanian press. To my regret, his noble sentiments excluded this American senior citizen. „Defend our citizens” remained, still remains, nothing but a meme for me and for a few other Americans, all victims of the same strange geopolitical strategy emanating from, to us, home.
No one contests there is cooperation between the two countries, primarily in the common fight against cybercrime. With a sizable FBI office attached to the US embassy, a real-life investigation in what was essentially a stolen identity case should have been easily brought to a quick end during or, at most, in the aftermath of the FBI director’s visit to Romania.
There was as well an even more compelling reason for a quick resolution: director Comey made a very publicized stop at the SRI (Romanian Intelligence Services) headquarters, where a complete file about me had been available in their vaults since the early ‘90’s, when I’d been “exposed” publicly as an American CIA agent, a rumor planted most likely by the SRI itself.
Even those who don’t speak Romanian, could understand from the lines underlined in red that „the sponsor of the „Romania Libera” newspaper is a CIA agent named Jordan” and, anyway, besides being Nick Jordan, I was the only American in the whole building (one of the largest in Bucharest).
Does anyone believe that, as an American helping in the publication of the leading opposition paper, I was not under continuos SRI surveillance?
I think Mr. Comey owes me not just one, but a series of answers, because „Collaborate to defend our citizens” wasn’t his only notable declaration and neither was the SRI building the only place he spent a considerable amount of time during his visit. Since the first moment he set foot on Romanian soil, director Comey had moved fast: first, he met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the Presidential Palace, then he went to the Government headquarters to meet Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Both meetings were attended by the directors of the Romanian secret services and the deputy prime minister, general Gabriel Oprea, the man in charge of national security as interior minister.
Other institutions were visited next in quick succession (and an in an equally swift succession, within six months of director Comey’s departure, half of the leaders he shook hands with, chief amongst them PM Ponta and interior minister Oprea, where not only out of office, but under criminal investigation for a whole gamut of crimes, ranging from involuntary homicide to routinely plagiarizing their PhD thesis, vote fraud and large-scale tax cheating).
The FBI director emphasized in his speeches the growing Romania-USA partnership in fighting corruption, terrorism and crime by noting that 32 Romanian officers have completed the FBI Academy, in Quantico, Virginia. Beside those 32, starting years before already, training took place at other US locations: at the ILEA academy in Roswell, New Mexico and at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, FBI Cyber Squad.
Even the individual who signed a carousel of phony investigation orders with my name on it took part in that special training in the US praised by the director. Several years after his successful graduation from Roswell, the ex-trainee was forced, together with several other high rank officials, to retire “medically,” all in the same day, for kickbacks and bribes totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Triumphalist testimony, reporting the big steps taken by the Romanian institutions under the aegis of the FBI and other US-provided advisers in the fight against corruption, has become the norm.
At the recent Romanian Anti-Corruption hearings chaired by senator Roger Wicker (R-Ms) on June 14th, 2017, in Room 212/210 of the Senate Visitor Center in Washington, DC we find the latest list of successful examples. https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/events/romanian-anti-corruption-process-successes-and-excesses. Of course, missing from the list is the name of my tormentor in Romania, an esteemed group leader at Roswell, no less, and a real-life thug, back in Bucharest, from several accounts.
And how was it possible that, beside the SRI and its cloak of secrecy, another of Director Comey’s interlocutors during his memorable (at least, to the Romanians) visit there, the-soon-to-be-indicted Prime Minister Victor Ponta could discuss in all seriousness during an interview he had commissioned with Romania TV my Afro-American origin, amended on the spot to African-American for “political correctness” (their words, not mine) as the reason I certainly couldn’t have been the grandson of Iordache Minciulescu, my grandfather, a famous philanthropist and the vice-president of the pre-war Romanian Senate?
Victor Ponta’s tacitly racist accusations were published for all to see by the official Romanian government site, gov.ro/ro/media/, and not just in Romanian, but in several languages. Are these the people we’re proud to shake hands with as Americans?
The rest of the accusations against me, police-sanctioned, or never-ending headlines in the press could fill an entire specialized catalog (only witchcraft was missing), starting with the already mentioned and always popular (in Romania) “CIA agent” moniker, „arrested for sedition in 1945,” “a high-ranking member of the Bucharest building mafia,” “threw in the street illegally hundreds of lawful tenants”, “his presumed father never had a son”, “people had died due to Jordan-led evacuations”, culminating with “the real Nicholas Jordan Minciulescu has died in December 1985, when his parents held an extended wake for him.” I believe I was visiting Tokyo, Japan, with a large group of work colleagues, at the time.
Apparently, as an American citizen, I had returned to the country where I was born in 1946 only as an impostor and only to plunder it.
I wish I could summarize in a few lines how severely my life has been impacted, from the full case of PTSD I was diagnosed in both countries upon my return to the US, to the shame I felt as people I never met in my life discussed it on TV as if they really knew it, down to feeling suicidal (documented since 2004) with the certainty this nightmare will keep playing on forever. And it destroyed me economically as well, keeping me up to my neck in court cases, without knowing if the end will ever be in sight.
I want the State Department to characterize what happened to me with any other words than torture, even if it was the psychological kind, and not physical, as obviously I can’t compare myself to a Taliban prisoner. Perhaps I didn’t suffer enough by their standards to qualify as a victim? So far, they refuse to answer.
On May 29 2017, according to the Romanian press, all charges against me had been dropped. I was never informed officially. I can’t even be sure it is true, although it must be so because my case involved as well former president Traian Basescu, the real target of the political witch-hunt. In the dossier bearing my name, the ex-president was given the court findings (apparently, he was informed on a Sunday evening straight from the source) and next day he commented in public that he’s been exonerated. My status was not disclosed. Suddenly, after the months I ‘d been daily fodder for the headlines, I disappeared again. I’m still inside a black hole—perhaps because I’ve never left it.
So, let’s cut it to the chase.
Dear Mr. Comey, I guess when I’ll upload in my blog www.minciulescu.com the rest of my open letter, you or maybe one of your devoted followers still on the FBI payroll will retaliate for my unvarnished words. I also might delude myself, and no one will give a hoot, but, frankly, in my circumstances, I’m past any concept of fear. Maybe not you personally, but the whole clan behind you when you were in charge had fully completed their share in screwing up my life past the point of return. So, write to me anyway. I’m easy to find.