Was Nicolae Ceausescu’s Execution Really Necessary?
(purely personal views, based on over two decades of prior research and publications)
WAS THE EXECUTION OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU IN DECEMBER 1989 REALLY NECESSARY?
Amongst Romanianists and many–probably most–Romanians, this is regarded as a silly question: of course it wasn’t, they reply almost in unison!
As I have argued on many previous occasions, the prevailing media and academic narrative has long since replaced any search for facts and effort to substantiate claims.
(from the 1993 documentary, The Last Day, by Arnaud Hamelin)
(for answers to the question, why exactly Tirgoviste, see also, https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/tag/tirgoviste-decembrie-1989/ and https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/12/25/25-for-25th-anniversary-of-the-romanian-revolution-19-the-trial-and-execution-of-nicolae-and-elena-ceausescu-in-tirgoviste/)
A prime example, of course, is Professor Vladimir Tismaneanu, arguably the “dean” of the Romanianist community in North America, here, on the 25th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989:
Una dintre marile intrebari ramase inca fara raspuns (ori fara un raspuns definitiv) legate de revolutia din decembrie 1989 are de-a face cu procesul inscenat de noua putere impotriva cuplului Nicolae si Elena Ceausescu….Ceausescu a fost impuscat pentru a scapa de un martor periculos. Mai mult, procesul cuplului Ceausescu era menit sa previna procesului regimului comunist.
The most important part of this monologue is that last sentence: “Ceausescu was shot in order to get rid of a dangerous witness. Moreover, the trial of the Ceausescu couple was designed to prevent the trial of the communist regime.”
Pretty stark and uncompromising, eh? Indeed! Surely, built on years of studying what happened in December 1989 and making careful conclusions based on that in-depth research?
No. Hardly. In my 1997 Ph.D. dissertation https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/rewriting-the-revolution-1997-chapter-8-unsolving-december/ , I drew attention to the following:
Writing in early February 1990, Vladimir Tismaneanu argued: “Questions about what is true and false in the story of Romania’s revolution begin with the execution of the Ceausescus.” Tismaneanu asked: “Did those who ordered Ceausescu killed have a personal interest in his quick and private death?…And are they using the myth of revolutionary justice and military expediency to hide other motives?”
Although Tismaneanu does not formally link the interpretation of the necessity of the Ceausescu couple’s trial and execution to the question of to what extent the threat by pro-Ceausescu counterrevolutionary “terrorists” was perceived as real at the time, it is clear that he recognizes the implicit relationship as the following apparent interview from 2012 highlights: https://anasanduleanu.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/the-romanian-revolution-and-the-last-days-of-communism/
The Ceausescu couple was caught at Targoviste. The day after, inside a military unit, took place Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu’s trial. In the opinion of Romanian political analysts, including Vladimir Tismaneanu, “the trial was a sham, a masquerade and a political assassination.”
“Amplifying the panic with the “terrorists” rumor, Iliescu’s team was able to take over the Power easier and faster,” said Vladimir Tismaneanu.
The presidential couple is sentenced to death and executed on Christmas Day by shooting. “The trial was deliberately arranged by the new established government so that Ceausescu was found guilty for the disaster in Romania, not the communism,” says Tismaneanu.
I have emphasized the linkage between how one interprets the necessity of the execution of the Ceausescus and the extent to which those who executed them considered the “terrorist” threat real since at least my dissertation:
The Execution of the Ceausescus: “Masquerade” or “Justifiable Homicide”?
Linz and Stepan echo the sentiments of many foreign observers in their discussion of the trial and execution of the Ceausescus:
To understand the new regime and the doubts we have about its liberal democratic character, we cannot but remind the reader of the grotesque nature of the “trial” and “judicial murder” of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, which were totally in contradiction with the principles of rule of law and formal justice. The hurried execution has left many doubts about how it was handled, even though the entire world was shown the trial and the official version of the execution on television. It would seem that the new rulers wanted to exploit the hatred of the Ceausescus and at the same time to prevent embarrassing accusations of their own past involvement under the sultan.
Let us re-examine the trial and execution of the Ceausescus and the circumstances surrounding them.
Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were executed in the courtyard of the Tirgoviste military garrison on Christmas Day, 25 December 1989. Paul Goma, Romania’s famous exiled dissident, seemed to capture the frustration and anger of many Romanians when he alleged that this act “stole Ceausescu from those who suffered because of him.” Writing in early February 1990, Vladimir Tismaneanu argued: “Questions about what is true and false in the story of Romania’s revolution begin with the execution of the Ceausescus.” Tismaneanu asked: “Did those who ordered Ceausescu killed have a personal interest in his quick and private death?…And are they using the myth of revolutionary justice and military expediency to hide other motives?” Bitterness over the lack of public trial has permeated the post-December dialogue about this event.
Precisely because such doubt has been created over the very existence of the “terrorists,” most discussions of the execution of the Ceausescus tend to devolve into parlor-room moralizing and ethics debates largely divorced from reality. Because it is taken for granted that the “terrorists” were a mere invention or worked on behalf of the Front, the actions of Front leaders are judged outside the context of the military realities confronted by Front leaders at the time. It is frequently insinuated that the Ceausescus were eliminated less for military reasons than for political reasons: the Ceausescus knew their accusers all too well; they could reveal unpleasant truths about the “coup d’etat” which was taking place; a “trial of communism” could thereby be avoided; and Front leaders could manufacture revolutionary credentials for themselves.
In his December 1995 interview with Senator Valentin Gabrielescu, Sorin Rosca Stanescu acknowledged the importance of the “terrorist” phenomenon for judging the correctness of the Ceausescus execution and outlined the stakes of the competing arguments:
Did the terrorists exist or not? If yes, if the organized formations tried to bring the dictators back to power, then their execution after a mock trial can be partially understood and partially forgiven by history. Even if this act shocked and revolted the entire free world. If there existed terrorist formations, then these over one thousand victims recorded after the arrest of the Ceausescu couple can be explained at this price by the defense of freedom. However, if after extremely thorough investigation, you sir did not identify organized formations of terrorists, then it turns out the Ceausescus were assassinated, and the authors of this act are guilty of a crime, and the deaths from the period 22-25 December are the victims of a genocide resulting from [the staging] of the terrorist scenario, by the authors of the coup d’etat, with Ion Iliescu at the forefront.
Clearly, Rosca Stanescu opts reflexively for the latter scenario, as does Gabrielescu.
Key members of the Front’s leadership during these days–including some now-bitter foes, Ion Iliescu, (former prime minister) Petre Roman, and Silviu Brucan–insisted at the time, and have continued to maintain, that although they weighed political, juridical, and military considerations in determining the fate of the Ceausescus, military considerations ultimately prevailed. According to these officials, because “terrorist” attacks were continuing in the capital and reports from commanders at the Tirgoviste military garrison suggested that the barracks had come under “terrorist” gunfire, they feared that:
should the Securitate have managed to set the two free and a madman like Ceausescu be given a chance to take over the command of those troops, we would have been heading for a bloodbath, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.
Does the evidence support the contention of Front leaders that the Tirgoviste garrison was under attack and that they feared a suicidal rescue attempt by Ceausescu loyalists? According to General Gheorghe N. Popescu (commander of the anti-aircraft artillery unit based in the garrison) tank, anti-tank, armored vehicles, and “mountain hunter” units and sub-units were summoned to Tirgoviste during these days to strengthen the defense of the town, bringing the total number of troops involved to 1,200. Major Ion Tecu maintains that the garrison was so heavily-fortified that it would have taken at least an entire division to conquer the barracks. General Popescu describes some familiar conditions during the days and nights while the Ceausescus were held at the Tirgoviste garrison:
Among the numerous incidents from that time, I would first of all emphasize the false objectives, the false targets, the false alarms, in a word the disinformation…the barracks were shot at, there was especially shooting from the direction of the train station, from the nearby high school, there was shooting from the neighboring blocks of flats, from the roofs of those blocks. These men were prepared by Ceausescu….I am convinced that elements of the Securitate were not foreign to these activities.
Lt. Col. Ion Mares recounts an incident from the morning of 23 December as follows:
[The telephone rang] I picked the telephone up and heard: “If in thirty minutes you don’t surrender the traitors we will wipe you from the face of the earth!”…Exactly thirty minutes later at 7:25 a.m. gunfire was opened against the barracks and on the radar five targets appeared. Later five helicopters were seen first-hand. Whether they were helicopters, balloons, or whatever I don’t know if we will ever know. What is certain is that it was thirty minutes after the threat.
Fearing that if the Ceausescus’ exact whereabouts were not kept secret, the Securitate might launch a successful rescue raid or Army soldiers or townspeople might take justice into their own hands and lynch the couple, the commanding officers of the Timisoara garrison spread disinformation of their own. For example, even after the Ceausescus had been brought within the garrison at 6:35 p.m. on Friday 22 December, groups of Army officers were dispatched into the countryside in search of the couple. While being moved from room to room on the base, the Ceausescus were made to wear Army greatcoats and hats. According to Lt. Col. Mares, “it is certain that by the time of the execution on 25 [December], no more than fifty percent of the personnel at the barracks knew of their [the Ceausescus’] presence [on the base].”
Moreover, realizing their phone calls were probably being listened to, they even lied to Front leaders in Bucharest about exactly where the couple was being held. When those officials charged to carry out the trial arrived on 25 December, they requested that they be taken to the “nearby wood” where the Army had hidden the Ceausescus: the Ceausescus had in fact never left the barracks but this is where the Tirgoviste commanders had told Bucharest the couple was located. Furthermore, because of information on the evening of 24 December that the land and air campaign of the “terrorists” would increase, and because it was difficult to move the Ceausescus from room to room in the barracks as the gunfire intensified, between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on 25 December, the Ceausescus were hidden in an armored transport on the base.
Ceausestii la Tirgoviste, Flacara no. 51 (19 decembrie 1990), pp. 8-10.
The tactics adopted by those officials sent from Bucharest to try the Ceausescus suggest that they genuinely feared the “terrorists” and modified their behavior accordingly. On the night of 24 December, the Front’s “executive bureau” commissioned Army General Victor Stanculescu–the very man who had hustled the Ceausescus into the helicopter which carried the couple from the CC building on 22 December–with the task of organizing the trial (and thus, their execution). Stanculescu brought with him to Tirgoviste representatives of both the civilian and military prosecutor’s offices, and at least two other Front “observers”: Gelu Voican Voiculescu, who went on to be named deputy prime minister and formed the first post-December security service (UM 0215), and Virgil Magureanu, who would become director of the Securitate‘s official heir, the SRI.
On Christmas morning, two helicopters departed from the Boteni parachutist base, collected these officials at the Ghencea stadium in Bucharest, and headed towards Tirgoviste. On the way, three helicopters, equipped with missiles, joined them. According to Stanculescu and Voiculescu in March 1990, the helicopters flew at a very low altitude and in a zig-zag route with only one of the helicopters in touch with the ground. The commanders at the Tirgoviste garrison knew of the helicopters’ arrival, but did not know exactly for what purpose they had come, so they loaded the Ceausescus back into the armored vehicle and drove out to the edge of the runway. According to Major Ion Tecu:
We were convinced that they were coming to take the dictator and that we could finally escape from this dreadful burden, from this nightmare (because, in fact, these three days and three nights with the Ceausescus on our minds was the most dreadful period for us, [a period] which aged us and negatively marked every life).
.. Linz and Stepan, “The Effects of Totalitarianism-cum-Sultanism,” 359.
.. Quoted in Ratesh, Romania: The Entangled Revolution, 77.
.. Vladimir Tismaneanu, “New Masks, Old Faces,” The New Republic, 5 February 1990, 17.
.. For instance, see ibid., 17; Matei Calinescu and Vladimir Tismaneanu, “The 1989 Revolution and Romania’s Future,” Problems of Communism 40, nos. 1-2 (January-April 1991): 45; Ratesh, Romania: The Entangled Revolution, 75-77.
.. Reprinted from Ziua in Valentin Gabrielescu, interview by Sorin Rosca Stanescu, “Seful Comisiei Decembrie ’89 Face Dezvaluiri,” Lumea Libera, no. 377 (23 December 1995), 9.
.. Ion Iliescu, interview, Die Welt, 8 January 1990 in FBIS, 9 January 1990; Petre Roman, interview, FBIS, 9 January 1990, 63; Silviu Brucan, interview, Adevarul, 18 January 1990 in FBIS-EEU-90-012, 18 January 1990, 71; Silviu Brucan, The Wasted Generation, 181; Ion Iliescu, Revolutia si Reforma, 79-82.
.. Brucan, interview, 16 January 1990 in FBIS.
.. See interviews in Ion D. Goia and Petre Barbu, “Ceausestii la Tirgoviste,” Flacara, no. 51 (19-25 December 1990), 8.
.. Ibid., 10.
.. Ibid., 8.
.. Ibid., 9.
.. See the comments of Lt. Col. Mares in ibid., 9.
In a 2005 article https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/11/29/schachmatt-strategie-einer-revolution-susanne-brandstatter-the-1989-romanian-revolution-as-geopolitical-parlor-game-brandstatters-checkmate-documentary-and-t/ , I also deconstructed the source base upon which Tismaneanu based his argument in 1990, as follows:
It is telling that when one reads the analysis of the “mysteries of the Revolution” in National Public Radio commentator Andrei Codrescu’s engaging “The Hole in the Flag” or in Matei Calinescu and Vladimir Tismaneanu’s penetrating “The 1989 Revolution and Romania’s Future”—both of which appeared in 1991—French sources dominate the discussion of what happened in December 1989. None of the skepticism about the accuracy of the French sources—as related in the comments of Popovici, Floca, and Stoica above—is voiced in these accounts.
The Walls Come Tumbling Down…
What is arguably still the best historical account of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Gale Stokes’ “The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1993),” repeats as fact a list of allegations regarding the trial of the Ceausescus that first were given publicity by Vladimir Tismaneanu and Matei Calinescu. (Even where Stokes cites others, those articles are usually themselves derivative and their arguments can be traced back to Tismaneanu and Calinescu). Based in large part on the broadcast of the full tape of the Ceausescus’ trial and execution in April 1990, analyses in the French press, and the allegations of French forensic experts (which apparently derived solely from having watched the tape (!)), Tismaneanu and Calinescu clearly showed their preference in a 1991 article for the French theory of the events. They therefore write that the trial of the Ceausescus lasted nine hours but only “fifty-odd minutes” was shown on the tape, that the execution of the couple had been faked, since Nicolae had likely suffered a heart-attack—“during the trial or during a separate interrogation, possibly under torture”—that caused Elena to go into hysterics, which necessitated that she be killed on the spot “gangland style.” (Stokes, 1993, pp. 292-293, n.118; Calinescu and Tismaneanu, 1991, p. 45-46, especially n. 14). They then go on to speculate that the 1 March 1990 suicide of the chief judge of the trial, General Gica Popa, “could have been an act of desperation by an essentially honest man” who would have had to go through “the criminal charade” of sentencing two corpses to death.
Of course, all of these judgments—and I contend this is the cornerstone of so many accounts/theories of the Revolution, although many researchers do not appear to acknowledge or realize it—are premised on their understanding of the identity and intentions of the “terrorists.” For example, if one believes there was no real “terrorist” threat, then one can countenance a leisurely nine-hour trial and the idea that the Ceausescus died during a “separate interrogation, possibly under torture.” On this question, Tismaneanu and Calinescu clearly reject the idea that those firing were fighting to topple the new leadership and restore the Ceausescus to power:
“In retrospect, the purpose of the reports of terrorism appears to have been to create apprehension among the populace and induce people to forgo further public demonstration against communism. It was used, in effect, to help the new power structure.” (Calinescu and Tismaneanu, 1991, p. 45, n. 12)
As to the allegations made by Calinescu and Tismaneanu in their 1991 account: even at the time of their article, there were very strong reasons to question the validity of their information and speculation. Numerous testimonies by Army personnel present at Tirgoviste while the Ceausescus were there negate their claims (see, for example, the interviews in “Ceausestii la Tirgoviste,” “Flacara,” 19 December 1990, pp. 8-10, which place the length of the trial anywhere between 50 minutes and one hour). As I wrote in 1997: “…even a year after the events, one of the eyewitnesses to what transpired, Maria Stefan, the cook in the officer’s mess, continued to maintain that the trial itself lasted ‘an hour’ (Hall, 1997, p. 342). When it comes to the question of Nicolae having been tortured prior to his death, Ratesh in 1991 notably stated that this version was “attributed to an official of the Romanian Ministry of the Interior”—i.e. likely former Securitate, and indeed given its utility for them it is not surprising that the former Securitate have sought to promote this idea in their literature on the Revolution (Ratesh, 1991, p. 76). Military and civilian personnel present at the execution are simply dismissive at the contentions of the French forensic experts that the Ceausescus were already dead by the time they were executed (they have effective counter-arguments regarding bloodflow—Nicolae’s greatcoat, Elena’s hysterical reaction by that point). They consider it ridiculous and the product of Westerners with no knowledge of the events (this comes through again on several occasions in the year long set of interviews in “Jurnalul National” during 2004).
Once upon a time, I used to attempt to draw Tismaneanu into debate on his conclusions about the trial and execution of the Ceausescus and the question of whether it was necessary. Tismaneanu’s response was of the variety “You don’t have to accept my views and I don’t have to accept yours.” That is hardly a formula for debate, but rather a mechanism for not challenging or questioning one’s own long-held views. And, yes, one is of course entitled to one’s own views, no matter if they are right or wrong, but as Tismaneanu himself is fond of quoting: one is not entitled to their own set of facts, where and when those facts can be established with some level of certainty.
For those who interacted with the Ceausescus after they were taken into custody on 22 December 1989, the Ceausescus dropped important details to understand what was going on and would transpire in the days that followed. From my 2006 article:
Constantin Paisie, one of the Militia officers involved in the transport and custody of the Ceausescus later that afternoon of 22 December, makes clear upon whom the Ceausescus were placing their bets to rescue them:
“Sir, they didn’t know what was going on. Indeed, they gave indications that they were waiting for someone to come and take them away to some place in which they would be more secure, for, you see, first and foremost they were banking on the Securitate. I know that at a moment, Nicolae Ceausescu told me to take him to a unit of the Securitate, a special unit at Baneasa, but from the Militia and the Army he didn’t expect any immediate help.”
Nicolae Ceausescu isi incuraja sotia, spunandu-i ca e vorba de un moment trecator si ca totul va reintra in normal? Domnule, ei nu stiau ce se intampla in tara in timpul acela. Intr-adevar, dadeau semne ca ar astepta sa vina cineva sa-i scoata din toata treaba asta si sa se simta ei mai in siguranta, dar, vedeti, ei in primul rand pe Securitate se bazau. Stiu ca la un moment dat, Nicolae Ceausescu mi-a spus sa mergem la unitatea aia de Securitate, o unitate speciala la Baneasa, dar din partea Militiei sau a Armatei nu se astepta sa-i vina sprijinul imediat. http://jurnalul.ro/campaniile-jurnalul/decembrie-89/ceausestii-au-crezut-ca-o-sa-i-salveze-cineva-71314.html
Here’s betting that the “special unit” at Baneasa in question was the one Marian Romanescu departed from above (page 39)—using a cover ID—the “Special Unit for Antiterrorist Warfare,” based at Baneasa…
 Constantin Paisie, interview by Marius Tuca, “Ceausestii au crezut ca o sa-I salveze cineva,” Jurnalul National, 18 March 2004, online edition. USLA training in the Baneasa area is mentioned in Stoian, 1993, pp. 85-85.
Nicolae Ceausescu told Nicolae Deca that he planned to “organize the resistance” in Tirgoviste.
It is important to reconstruct what was transpiring in Targoviste itself during December 1989 and what people who were on the ground–and not those flown in from Bucharest, i.e. the likes of Stanculescu, Voican Voiculescu, Magureanu, and yes, Dan Voinea–say about what they experienced. To her credit, Ruxandra Cesereanu (http://anatolicoblogg.blogspot.com/2014/12/cesereanu-ruxandra-ceausescus-trial-and.html) touches upon the works of Viorel Domenico, such as Ceausescu la Targoviste: 22-25 decembrie 1989, but she missed or chooses not to draw attention to some important details that come out of that 1999 volume.
“Totodata eu cred ca (seful Securitatii locale, Col.) Dinu nu era strain de actiunile desfasurate impotriva unitatii. De pilda, intr-o noapte, m-a scos afara, in curtea unitatii, si auzind in oras zgomote, imi spunea, ‘Fii atent, astea sunt ABI-uri…In 10 minute, incep sa traga…’ Stia totul, de parca isi confirma un plan cunoscut dinainte. Si mi-a mai spus, ‘Teroristii si antiteroristii sunt pregatiti dupa aceleasi principii si reguli, fac aceeasi instructie.’”
Captain Gheorge Bobric’s recounting of Securitate Col. Dinu’s comment, according to which “…notice, those are ABIs [Securitate USLA vehicles]…in ten minutes, firing will begin…The terrorists and anti-terrorists are trained according to the same principles and rules, they go through the same training.” p. 157
The remainder of pages 156 and 157 also contain important, interesting clues:
For example, Boboc continues:
“Then, there was Major Oancea, also from the county Securitate. Hardly had he come from his mission in Timisoara, on 22 December, but he presented himself to Kemenici (at a time when all the Securitate personnel had been sent home) and he “surrendered to the Revolution.” Kemenici accepted him and dressed him in an Army soldier’s uniform, armed and with the appropriate patch (?), and held him in the unit. He walked through the unit with missions assigned to him by the Kemenici-Dinu tandem. But his principal mission was to investigate with captain Stoian–the Securitate’s military counter-intelligence officer for the unit, the terrorists captured and brought to the barracks.
“For example, I brought one, turned over by revolutionaries, who had been captured shooting in MICRO 11. He was covered in blood, armed, had an ID from Botosani, and was named Balan. And there were were many other such suspects given to the two investigators. In the night before the trial they all disappeared, without a trace, from arrest in the unit. As did Major Oancea!”
Such stuff of course never appears in the Romanian press. Nor do the notes from Army’s “Journal of Military Operations” which suggest that even after the Ceausescus had been executed they were still fighting the “terrorists.”
(Indeed, I would argue: if you don’t know what happened between 26 December 1989 and 24 January 1990 after the Ceausescus were executed 25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #25 After the Ceausescus Were Executed: The Counter-Revolution is Disappeared (26 December 1989 – 24 January 1990), there is no way you can possibly accurately judge the decision to execute the Ceausescus.)
see the entries for 26-30 December 1989:
Finally, it is worth remembering something long since forgotten: what the Ceausescus said themselves at their trial.
(Printed from a microfiche machine in late 1990/early 1991 at Indiana University (Bloomington)’s Main Library. It contains an excerpt long since forgotten, especially among those who deny the idea of Securitate terrorists and mercenaries loyal to Nicolae Ceausescu who fought on after 22 December 1989. Below it, in Romanian, what Adrian Paunescu’s Totusi Iubirea in May 1991- June 1992 under the title “Adevarata stenograma a procesului Nicolae Ceausescu – Elena Ceausescu” (xeroxed spring 1997 Babes-Bolyai University Library, Cluj, Romania))
Prosecutor: But those who shot at the young people were security men, the terrorists.
Elena Ceausescu: The terrorists are from the Securitate.
Prosecutor: The terrorists are from the Securitate?
Elena Ceausescu: Yes.
the actual conversation per the Romanian version is somewhat more nuanced than the translation above (which lacks the original Romanian)
Presed (Prosecutor): Dar la Bucuresti, in tinerii care au murit, cine a tras, peste care au trecut tanchetele Securitatii? A unei parti… [“tanchetele Securitatii, a unei parti…” this may be a reference to the ABIs of the USLA and/or a mistake/intentional mischaracterization of the concomitant participation of Army tanks in the Bucharest repression of 21/22 December 1989]
E.C. (Elena Ceausescu): Pai, da, tero…
(N.C. (Nicolae Ceausescu) il face semn sa taca) (Nicolae Ceausescu signals her to be quiet) [this is very revealing…clearly, Elena was stumbling into saying more than she should and Nicolae wanted to cut her off)
Presed: Teroristi? Teroristi?
E.C. Teroristii se spun ca sint, pe aicea vorbeau oamenii, ca sint al Securitatii?
Presed: Teroristii sint ai Securitatii?
E.C. Asa se vorbea.
Acuz: Si Securitatea nu era a comandamentului suprem?
That the terrorists were affiliated with the Securitate was recognized by Securitate General Iulian Vlad in his–still unpublished by the Romanian media– declaration of 29 January 1990, which can be found here:
An interesting personal testimony below: