Lack of contingency plan was exposed during attacks: Former TID Chief
By Yoshitha Perera
Former TID Chief DIG Nalaka de Silva yesterday said the Easter Sunday attacks revealed the lack of a contingency plan and policy to face emergence situations. Testifying before the Presidential Commission probing Easter Sunday attacks, Silva said that after his appointment as the TID Director in 2015, he always questioned at the Intelligence Review meetings about having a contingency plan and policy to act under an emergency situation.
The former Terrorist Investigations Division Director testifying before the Commission said, since his appointment to the post in 2015, he insisted during intelligence review meetings on having such contingency plans in place to act during emergency situations.
“The Defence Secretary and other officials held different views about having a contingency plan. They probably thought I was going to start a war again in the country. During this period there was an issue with the defence secretary and I didn’t participate at intelligence review meetings after September, 2017,” the witness told the Commission.
The Commissioners then asked him reasons for not participating in intelligence review meetings.
Silva responded that then Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne had criticized him in an intelligence review meeting held on September 24, 2017, for not investigating about a particular intelligence with regard to the Turkey terror group FETO.
The witness informed the Commission that he had never received details about such intelligence through the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and that he could not conduct an investigation without receiving such information.
“I was really upset about this incident. The SIS Director Nilantha Jayawardena never informed me about the intelligence with regard to FETO organization, even after the particular review meeting. That was the last intelligence review meeting that I attended,” he said.
Former DIG Nalaka de Silva further informed the PCoI that a senior official of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and former IGP Pujith Jayasundara had asked the TID not to investigate a Sri Lankan who had returned after fighting for ISIS in 2018.
Silva said that TID picked up Nilabdeen Rimzan at the airport and had asked him to come to the TID after initial questioning. However deputy director of SIS, Sampath Kumara had asked Silva not to pursue the investigation as SIS is conducting a separate investigation.
Senior Police officers given awards: Witness
By Yoshitha Perera
Through third party sources it was informed that former President Maithripala Sirisena’s government had given Presidential awards to Senior Police officers including the then SIS Director for their involvement on investigating Easter Sunday attacks, former Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Director DIG Nalaka de Silva yesterday informed PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks. The witness said this while responding to a question raised by the Commissioners on whether intelligence officials had received any awards after Easter Sunday attacks.
Silva also said that in 2018, he had requested from the secretary to the ministry of law and order to provide advanced technological equipment to monitor the social media.
“We have limited capacity and resources to monitor the internet. We were given demonstrations by various institutions, including the UN, on monitoring the internet,” he said.
Silva further said that he realized that since a lot of suspicious things now take place online, the TID needed such equipment for online monitoring purposes.