By Yoshitha Perera
State Intelligence Services (SIS) has the responsibility to inform about serious threats to the national security, to the President and to mention such threats in the Threat Assessment Report, retired DIG Mohammad Hafiz Marso yesterday informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the Easter Sunday attacks.
Testifying before the Commission Mr. Marso said that intelligence services in the country were informed of increasing Islamic extremism from 2010, soon after the end of the war and he had informed about the Thawheed Jamaat movement at the intelligence review committee meeting.
‘“2019 April, before Easter attacks, the Director of SIS should have prepared an interim report once he received the information from the Indian Intelligence Service after confirming the particular intelligence report. The SIS Director also could inform such information to the Deputy Minister of Defence if the Defence Secretary was failing to take any action,” he said.
In 2010, Thawheed Jamaat movement was a single group and later they were split into four groups including Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaat(SLTJ) and National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ), the witness informed the Commission.
Mr.Marso said that Sri Lankan intelligence agencies had received reliable information from the Indian Intelligence Agencies in the past and during his tenure information on intelligence were classified at a high level.
During the testimony, an official of the Attorney General’s (AG) Department showed, the threat assessment report sent by SIS Director Nilantha Jayawardena on former President Maithirpala Sirisena’s visit to Batticaloa on April 12. Earlier, it was revealed to the Commission that the threat assessment report for the particular president’s visit was prepared after receiving intelligence information from India about the Easter Sunday attacks.
However,Mr. Marso said that the SIS had not mentioned about the Indian report and had allowed President Sirisena to visit Batticaloa.
Checking the other letter transferred through SIS and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), witness about the attack said that, SIS had used the word ‘alleged’ as if they were unclear about the intelligence which they received from Indian Intelligence Service. “We cannot use the word ‘alleged’ in these letters,” he said.
“There was a clear threat to the national security and it was mentioned in the intelligence sent by Indian Services,” he informed the Commission.