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PCoI on Easter attacks: ISIS threats were a new situation we faced: Witness

8 July 2020 09:16 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Concept paper on countering potential threats of ISIS, which was prepared by the officers attached to Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) in 2016, was submitted to then Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, it was informed at the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks yesterday.

Testifying before the Commission a senior official attached to CNI said that the concept paper was prepared with the assistance of then Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi and the main objective of presenting the paper to the minister was to avoid ISIS threats.

“However there were no major ISIS threats to the country during this time. But we saw an increase of Islamic extremist practices in the country and we wanted to highlight certain facts to the minister,” witness said.

Witness noted that the concept paper had elaborated several main areas which CNI considered as threat to the national security. “ISIS continues to pose threats far beyond Iraq and Syria and we had analysed foreign terrorist activities in a comprehensive manner,” witness said.

Highlighting the areas mentioned in the concept paper with regard to threats to national security, witness said that the CNI had mentioned the patterns of attacks which could be carried out by ISIS. Witness further stated that in the concept paper, the CNI highlighted the building of a strong mechanism to share intelligence information.

Further, Commissioners questioned as to whether there were any issues with regard to sharing intelligence information. In response witness said that the ISIS threats were a new situation following the LTTE. “From the beginning of 2015 there was problem on getting accurate information with regard extremist practices in the country.

However during LTTE attacks we had a strong intelligence mechanism and every institution was willing to take the responsibility,” witness said. Witness also said that the separation of the Defence Secretariat and the Law and Order Ministry also affected the national security during the Easter Sunday attacks. “Due to the separation of these two institutions there was a huge void in provincial coordination,” witness said. (Yoshitha Perera)


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