16 December, 2019

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Exclusive: Sirisena Briefed About Easter Sunday Attacks 10 Days Before: Protects SIS Chief, Lies About IGP And Defence Secretary 

Colombo Telegraph can exclusively reveal that President Maithripala Sirisena has taken measures to protect his favourite Senior DIG in charge of intelligence while making the Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundara scapegoats for the colossal security blunder that resulted in the horrific bombings and killed more than 250 people on Easter Sunday.

President Sirisena was informed about the foreign intelligence reports predicting the attacks on at least three separate occasions Colombo Telegraph can exclusively reveal today.

All three briefings were conducted by Head of the State Intelligence Service Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena. Jayawardena met Sirisena personally to brief him on 11th April and 16th April. President Sirisena then travelled overseas soon after the New Year holidays. When the Indians tipped off the SIS once again on the 20th of April about the bombings being imminent Jayawardane tipped off the President over the telephone. At the time Sirisena was holidaying in Singapore with his family after a 3 day pilgrimage to India for blessings.

At no point after the SIS briefings did President Sirisena discuss the deadly serious threats with the Inspector General of Police, the three armed forces chiefs or even his own Defence Secretary sources at the Defence Ministry told Colombo Telegraph. Directives were given by the MoD to police officials to take necessary action to prevent the attacks and inform churches in advance of potential risks Colombo Telegraph was told by high ranking sources. Some sources said it was possible that Sirisena did not fully understand the extent of his security briefing or the high level threats being warned about.

President Sirisena has characteristically blamed officials in the Ministry of Defence and the Head of the Police IGP Jayasundara for shirking their responsibilities and failing to tell him about the imminent threats. “They came with betel leaves to wish me for Avurudu and even then they did not bother to tell me,” said the President when he met media heads and foreign reporters last week.

However officials say this is a blatant lie because SIS SDIG Jayawardane was always in the habit of telling the President about intelligence reports first before informing Ministry of Defence officials or even the Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis.

“There is no way that the President did not know. I can imagine if the Defence Secretary did not warn him. But the SIS chief is his pet and he knew everything. They talked several times a day. There is no way Nilantha Jayawardane did not tell him what he knew,” a senior Government Minister who did not wish to be named said.

One UNP minister said that the President may have decided not to act on his briefings in the belief that the attacks would be small scale ones. “He may have thought he could then blame the UNP for those attacks and that would give him a political advantage,” the minister added.

The Minister said the SIS head had intimidating details about the attacks and the attackers ready to brief officials minutes after the bombings.

Defence Ministry officials however met with the head of the SIS Nilantha Jayawardane, the three forces chiefs and the IGP and other officials to discuss the threat as soon as the intelligence was received by the Ministry on the 9th of April. Directives were issued to the police to take necessary steps to avert the attacks and be extra vigilant. They even told the Police to alert churches to the intelligence reports and the risks involved.

Unable to take action against the SIS Chief who is his favourite President Sirisena has decided to make the former Defence Secretary Fernando and the IGP fall guys in the debacle. He has refused to take responsibility for the lapse even though he holds the portfolio of Defence Minister and Minister of Law and Order in charge of the tri-forces and the police. Sirisena has also never named the SIS head as being at fault for failing to alert him even though it is to the SIS that foreign intelligence is channelled to. In fact if the President is maintaining he was not told by any of his officials SDIG Jayawardane should be the first to take the blame senior officials at the Ministry of Defence said. “We were always second to know about intelligence reports even though the SIS actually comes under MoD. First of all Jayawardane rushes to the President. About half of what he tells the President he later relays to us,” one official revealed.

An official who is on the President’s staff confirmed that SIS Head SDIG Jayawardane is Sirisena’s favourite police officer. “It was actually to make Nilantha Jayawardane a SDIG that the president suddenly cancelled Ravi Waidyalanka’s extension three months early also. He had a good excuse because of the corruption charges against Waidyalankara. But the real mission was to make Nilantha SDIG since there can be only so many SDIGs in the Police Department at one time,” the president’s office official said.

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Latest comments

  • 41
    6

    What a waste of a beautiful country, by a set of MONKEYS, who think they know it all . They actually know nothing other than filling & lining their pockets.
    For 10 years before 2015 we had the curse of white vans , disappearances family bandism, closure of roads for the little boys to race their cars, bribery corruption et al.
    Sirisena vowed to be our servant & not our master. A few months into the job & bingo he changed. The curse came with the Bond Scam. If Sira was a “man” he should have demanded an explanation from Mahendran instead allowing that guy to go abroad. Thereafter there was mayhem Have we ever heard of MPs being actually bought over? Our beautiful country is in a total mess. We have to get a cean government. Certainly not R the family! We will find the people , Sirisena please dissolve parliament & go home. Thank you. Pem..

  • 42
    2

    Fully agree with all the negative comments about Sirisena. We had a taste of him last October! I think people should now go ahead and try to get rid of this stupid, selfish, uneducated liar of a President of this country without any further delay. As a retired Air Marshal stated, isn’t he responsible for manslaughter? Shouldn’t Sirasena be tried for manslaughter? .This article should be published in Sinhalese so that majority of the people will know what exactly had happened along with the comments. Thank you for posting this article.

  • 8
    1

    That is why he went to thirupathy to pray to save Taj . Thirupathi saved Taj. What a miracle !

  • 3
    17

    The Easter Sunday 2019 event is very tragic. Thousands are in mourning. For some the mourning period may be very long.
    It is unbecoming to find certain party trying to make political capitol. Denigrating MS is an obvious step.
    .
    Lankan politics has degenerated to ‘Nobody trusts anybody’. This includes all Very Important Politicos’ and administrators.
    MS is not an angel but blaming him entirely for the event is unfair. We are told that MS was warned. But it will be impossible to act on every so-called warnings.
    .
    It is claimed that the Head of the State Intelligence Service Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardane warned MS. It is known that the top Police ranks do not trust each other.
    Did India really warn on Saturday 20 April of what is about to happen on Easter Sunday?
    .
    Every politician must share the blame.
    Will they bring back Law & Order?

  • 4
    16

    Well CT, why are you playing those ‘dirty’ games on media? It is because of Newspapers like yours that causes the extra chaos. If you have as you called “exclusive” proof then make it open than inciting hate right here.

  • 24
    2

    This President has blood on his hands & is responsible for the deaths & injuries of many people—-Its a disgrace that this scumbag is not being held to account.

  • 21
    1

    All above comments expose the same facts that majority of people’s views in the country about the President’s inability,incapacity and inborn weakness of him. God bless the country.

  • 20
    1

    Minister of Defence must resign.

  • 6
    5

    Both President and PM needs to certainly step down, he is deviating the subject but the public is aware of the fact that he took no heed of the warnings, They all meet up for grand lunches and coffee filling up there bellys surely they must have talked aboyt how to safe giard themselves. Harin came out with the truth!

  • 7
    2

    This is the truth no mud slinging as politicians when they make mistakes and blunders it is up to the politician to accept the mistake or the blunder he has made people make mistakes please don’t lie accept and admit your mistake we as a nation have to accept the fact this act was committed by barbaric Muslim terrorist shamelessly killed so many innocent people to go to haven and live with Al]ha and for luster to have sex with 72 virgins what a shame to the humanity low level actions of Zaharan Muslim terrorist so blame Muslim terrorist also don’t only blame the President

  • 1
    7

    No evidence, just Fake News. Anyone one can craft these types of articles which fit gutter journalism. Ranil and MY3 are unfit to govern and should be in jail for manslaughter for gross negligence

  • 5
    1

    It is crystal clear , President MS is responsible for neglecting and ignoring the advance information
    conveyed to him by certain local and foreign intelligent agencies . He is accountable for criminal negligence .

  • 3
    0

    This essay is excellent but it but leaves a few points unexplained. For example, why did Intel chief Nilantha Jayawardena took almost a week to brief the President on 11 th of Apr if he received the first tip from India on 4th? I think that my answer to this question explains most of what happened until the tragedy unfolded! I believe that SIS chief (Nilantha) informed the president immediately after he received the detailed tip from India. It is very likely that President asked him to investigate and report back to him as soon as possible b’cos he had to make a decision on his planned trip if the news was true. Nilantha may have asked his staff to look into the matter. after almost a week they have reported that nothing could detected. The briefing on 11 th is to inform the president of this fateful results.

    Now the question is how much of Nilantha’s loyalty to his boss played in compiling this fateful report. In other words, did he want his boss to continue on the planned family trip no matter what or did his really failed to verify the tip? Whatever is the answer, I think there are whole lots of other factors that led to this massive intelligence failure: 1. President relying only on one person on national security issues. 2. His grudge against UNP, particularly against Ranil that led him to keep everybody that has connections with Ranil out of the security loop. 3. A lack of systematic review of security issues. 4. President’s poor knowledge/skills in high-level management. 5. His eagerness to win Muslim votes. And, finally and most importantly, 6. Failure of SIS chief to take notice if increasing red flags of Jihadi activities in the country. If I’m correct, then both the president and his Intel chief are equally responsible for the massive security failure that led to the Easter Sunday tragedy!

  • 2
    0

    End result of MR charming the man who beat him to the Presidency on 8 january 2015 by offering SLFP leadership and confusing the whole political set-up in the country! The UNP is suffering for the blunder of chosing as the common candidate for executive presidency a person whom they thought would be a
    “night watchman” to hold out briefly in bad light facing the bouncers. The tactic worked but the “simpleton” then stayed on hitting “pol adi” even injuring the umpires and espectators!

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