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PSC says SIS Director bears "greatest responsibility" over Easter attacks

3 years ago

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The Parliamentary Select Committee in its findings released today stated that the State Intelligence Services (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena should bear the “greatest responsibility” over preventing the Easter attacks. The final report by the PSC on the Easter Sunday attacks was presented to the Parliament today. The PSC  said the intelligence information related to the attacks was first received by the Director, SIS on 4th April 2019 but there were delays from his end to share it with the relevant intelligence and security personnel. The Director, SIS was called by name by the then Secretary Ministry of Defense  to brief the Intelligence Coordination Meeting (ICM) on 9th April 2019 but failed to do this by saying he would send a written update on the intelligence received. "This, the PSC notes is a major failure from the Director SIS, the lead in the intelligence apparatus who had received pride of place at the ICM and National Security Council (NSC)." The PSC also notes the failure on the part of the SIS to act up on the subsequent intelligence information received after the explosion on 16th April 2019 in Kattankudy. This is compounded by the fact that since 8th April 2018, a full one year before the incident, he had in writing to the IGP requested for the shutting down of investigations by others into Zahran, which resulted in the SIS becoming the sole investigator into Zahran. The PSC said whilst the greatest responsibility remains with the Director SIS, others too failed in their duties. "Within the security and intelligence apparatus, the Secretary Ministry of Defense(MOD) , IGP, Chief of National Intelligence CNI and  Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) failed in their responsibilities. All were informed of the intelligence information prior to the Easter Sunday attacks but failed to take necessary steps to mitigate or prevent it," PSC said. In addition, the PSC observes that the President failed in numerous occasions to give leadership and also actively undermined government and systems including having ad hoc NSC meetings and leaving out key individuals from meetings. "Whilst the fissures in Government were evident in 2018, amplified with the Constitutional Crisis, these also impacted the security apparatus. Several others are listed in the report as having failed in their duties including the Prime Minister and State Minister for Defence and the Attorney General’s Department," PSC  said. Meanwhile, The PSC also observes that further investigations will be required to understand whether those with vested interests did not act on intelligence so as to create chaos and instil fear and uncertainty in the country in the lead up to the Presidential Election to be held later in the year. "Such a situation would then lead to the call for a change of regime to contain such acts of terrorism. Coincidentally or not so coincidentally, the security situation and fear would be unleashed months away from the Presidential Election," PSC pointed out. The PSC also notes that this occured in the context of changes in the leadership in the Sri Lankan Army and DMI in 2019. The PSC said these were extremely serious observations that can impact the democratic governance, electoral processes and security of Sri Lanka and must require urgent attention. The PSC  further revealed that investigations to date have not shown any evidence that Zahran had direct links with the ISIS. The link to the full report is given below;    

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