Colombo Telegraph

Lax Attitude Of State Intelligence Apparatus Comes To Light At Inaugural Select Committee Hearing On Easter Attacks

In a damning narration of events that referred to discussions into the potential threat of Easter Sunday bombings among top officials of state defense apparatus, National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis told the Parliamentary Select Committee, although April 9, 2019 was the first meeting during, which the threat of the attack was discussed, the topic was not taken up as a priority.

Sisira Mendis

The intelligence coordination meeting held on April 9 had been led by Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando with participation of SIS Director Nilantha Jayawardena. State Minister for Defense Ruwan Wijewarena had not attended.

“A letter was received by my office on April 7 issued by the SIS, titled ‘Information of an alleged plan of attack’ which contained details of a possible bomb threat… It was a Sunday and when I reported to work on Monday morning (April 8) I read it and was seeking a chance to talk about it with Defense Secretary,” Mendis said.

Mendis adds he did not receive an opportunity until that evening to bring it before the attention of then Secretary Fernando, as the Secretary was busy with the visit of Indian Defense Secretary to Sri Lanka.

When he eventually brought it before Fernando’s attention, Mendis had also noted that the Police should promptly take action as they are mandated with necessary power to act on the information in the interest of maintaining law and order. A decision had been made to discuss the threat further at the Intelligence Coordination meeting.

However, Mendis noted he believes the then Defense Secretary was not aware of the information received on the potential threat, even by that point on April 8.

When the Intelligence Coordination meeting convened the next day, on April 9, Mendis says the information on threat of Easter attacks was not taken up as a priority.

“I had placed the letter I received on April 7 in front of me when I sat for the meeting. Since it was not brought up, when the meeting was about to close, I brought it up. I informed them that the gravity of this information can only be gauged by SIS Director,” he told the Committee.

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