Easter Attack update : No proper acceptance or appreciation of intelligence information (Video)

Thursday, 02 July 2020 - 14:00

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It was revealed that although there was definitive intelligence information that there is a risk of terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan churches on Easter Sunday, it has not been discussed at any meeting of the Security Council or the leaders of the armed forces.

This was when a senior official of the State Intelligence Service testified before the Presidential Commission probing the Easter attacks.

An intelligence official who testified before the Presidential Commission said that the State Intelligence Service had received information about the attack on April 4 last year.

However, the intelligence officer stated that it was not properly accepted or received.

Although there was 16 days before the attack, there was no discussion of such an attack at the Security Council, which was held weekly or at any meeting of the leaders of the three-armed forces.

The intelligence officer pointed out to the Presidential Commission that such specific information was not even received during the war.

The witness stated that the informal dealing of the State Intelligence Service in relation to the relevant information diminished the seriousness of this information.

The intelligence officer told the commission that even though the CID and the Terrorism Investigation Division had exposed many details, they were reluctant to share information with the Army Intelligence Board.

The witness pointed out that the lack of such information sometimes caused difficulties in gathering intelligence.

The intelligence officer recalled to the Commission five instances, including the killing of Vavunathivu police officers, Wanathavilluwa weapons and ammunition, before the terrorist attack on Easter Sunday.

He said that although the State Intelligence Service inquired from the Director of Criminal Investigation Department Shani Abeysekera, the CID did not provide any cooperation.

Also, the witness told the commission that on June 11, 2017 they received information that M L A M Hisbullah and former deputy minister Amir Ali had contacts with Sunnath Wal-Jamaat, an extremist Islamist group.

DIG Chandra Wakishta, the former Director of the State Intelligence Service, then gave evidence before the Presidential Commission.

He pointed out to the Commission that, the mastermind of the Easter attack, Saharan Hashim and Jameel, were highly influenced by their extremist activities.

The State Counsel who appeared for the Commission pointed to a document called C4B.

The witness stated that he was surprised that the attack on April 21 last year could not have been avoided despite such a specific document.

The witness pointed out that the letter submitted by the head of the state intelligence service, Nilantha Jayawardena, to the IGP regarding the attack was in the form of an investigation report and it was not appropriate to inform the IGP and the Army Commander.

Former Director of Intelligence further stated that it was revealed that one of the main suspects in the Mawanella Buddha statues attack was a close associate of Saharan Hashim.

The witness pointed out that the head of the State Intelligence Service, Nilantha Jayawardena, should have taken this intelligence seriously and shared the seriousness of it with other intelligence officers.

The Presidential Commission inquired whether the Head of State Intelligence could contact the President at any time.

The witness said that even of the Head of State Intelligence Services goes to hell he can still directly contact  the President.