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SIS must be independent: Committee

By Skandha Gunasekara

The three-member Presidential Committee appointed by President Maithriapala Sirisena to investigate the Easter Sunday attacks told the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that the State Intelligence Service should be made an independent body.

Committee Chairman Supreme Court Justice Vijith Malalgoda told the PSC that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) should not operate in the same manner as other intelligence agencies such as the Directorate of Military Intelligence.

Today’s (20) PSC comprised of members Dr Nalinda Jayatissa, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, MA Sumanthiran, Minister Rauff Hakeem, Chairman Ananda Kuamrariri, Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratne and Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

Responding to a question posed by the PSC regarding the recommendations made by the Presidential Committee in accordance with its finding, Malagoda said that it had recommended that the State Intelligence Service be made an independent body through a Parliamentary Act.

“The first intelligence reports had been received around the 5th of April but there had been no proper coordination. When it comes to national security there should be one body above others. There are intelligence operatives in a single police station belonging to several intelligence bodies. That should be changed. We observed that some officers have submitted false records. For example, the warning had been received by the Katana police station. According to their books, 21 policemen had been detained at the site. But we found it was false and that it had been entered in the books only after the attacks,” Malalgoda said.

Former Inspector General Police (IGP), N K Illangkoon too agreed with the remarks of Malalgoda.

“We have observed that there isn’t a proper mechanism in place to coordinate the intelligence agencies. We are not against having many intelligence agencies but the nature of the intelligence agencies should match the requirements of the country. Accordingly, we proposed that the Lead intelligence agency be converted into a body operating under separate legal provisions. There have been lapses in intelligence coordination. This could help rectify this problem,” Illangkoon said.

The three members of the Presidential Committee: Supreme Court Justice Vijith Malalgoda, former Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon and former Ministry Secretary Padmasiri Jayamanne  – testified before the PSC together.

Pictures by Lalith Perera