Even though President Maithripala Sirisena has openly said that he was unaware of the bomb attacks carried out by Islamic extremists, many facts suggest otherwise.
Both the National Intelligence Service and State Intelligence Service are directly answerable to the President as he acts as the Commander and also the Defense Minister. The President not being aware of what the Defense Secretary and IGP knew is problematic.
The President directly works with State Intelligence Service director Nilantha Jayawardena, and according to reports, the President has been obtaining information pertaining to the national security from the director of State Intelligence Unit. As a matter of fact, they have worked very closely.
Not only the State Intelligence Service director but also the head of National Intelligence Service Sisira Mendis, on April 4, also informed the President and Defense Secretary about the terror attacks. (according to a foreign intelligence report)
On April 9, Mr. Mendis had informed the IGP of this matter, and subsequently, the latter had conveyed the information to four Senior DIGs. Senior DIG Priyalal Dasanayake had taken necessary action according to the information he received. The letter circulated through social media after the Easter Sunday bombings on April 21 was issued by Priyalal Dasanayake.
Bother the National Intelligence Service and the State Intelligence Service report to the Defense Minister and the President is in charge of the Defense Ministry.
The President, as the Defense Minister, not being aware of warnings about the Easter Sunday attacks, when other officials of the Defense Ministry knew it, is in a way a joke.
After the political crisis in last October, Prime Minister and State Minister of Defense had been excluded from the Security Council. The IGP had not been invited to the Security Council.
However, MPs representing the opposition, who are not members of the Security Council, had been invited to the meeting.
Usually, the President, Prime Minister, State or Deputy Defense Minister, IGP, ministry secretaries, Chief of Defense Staff, Commanders of Tri-forces and heads of State and National Intelligence Units, attend Security Council meetings. But the President inviting MPs of the opposition for Security Council meetings is not permissible.
President’s anti-drug programs and Maudush mania
Even though the Security Council should predominantly pay attention to the national security, the President has reportedly paid more attention to eradicating the drug menace and catching underworld leader Makandure Madush. Eradicating the drug menace is undeniably important. But, when it comes to national security, it’s not only about the war on drugs.
Five minutes to talk about national security
The President, who gives priority to talk about the drug menace, usually gives only a short period of time for the Defense Secretary to discuss other matters; usually it is limited to five-six minutes. The President had reportedly said the Defense Secretary that the former is receiving information about the national security from Nilantha Jayawardena.
In this context, the fact that the President got to know about the Easter Sunday attacks via Facebook, is completely unacceptable.
When it comes to resolving national level crisis, leaders having personal grudges with each other is unacceptable; but we have become so unlucky to witness leaders’ political drama.