Former President Maithripala Sirisena once again denied that he was aware of intelligence reports prior to the Easter Sunday attacks, stating that he would have prevented the attack if he had received such alert. The Former President made these comments during an interview with the BBC.
BBC:Were you aware of an imminent attack?
MS:If I was aware, would I have let it happen? What kind of question is that?
BBC: You were the Minister of Defence, the Commander in Chief, the Intelligence Services was under your purview. Having received prior intelligence reports, what exactly was the lapse here?
MS:The lapses have been exposed through investigations. Those who were responsible have clearly been revealed. The ones who held responsibility have been interdicted and the cases are being heard in court.
Excerpts of the interview:
BBC:Would you or former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe accept responsibility?
MS: Responsibility for what?
BBC:Responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks...
MS:Why would I accept responsibility? Responsibility should be accepted by those who were responsible.
BBC:You were the President, Minister of Defence, Minister in charge of the Police at the time...
MS:The President does not seize illicit liquor, nor does he catch rapists, drug peddlers or terrorists. The President is entrusted with policy planning, directing and advising.
BBC:There are reports that such directives were not issued...
MS:These duties were properly implemented by the President. It was those below the chain of command who have neglected their duties.
BBC: Neither you, nor former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have accepted responsibility for this attack. You have also not apologised to the public. In other countries, such an event would have witnessed apologies and the resignation of subject ministers. Would you like to make this an opportunity to apologise to the public?
MS: For me to apologise, I should have known about it. You keep on stressing this fact... I am amazed by your repeated questions. If the security officials of both the President and the Prime Minister were unaware of those, how would the President or the Prime Minister know?