Ununpardonable blunder
Posted on April 24th, 2019

EDWARD GUNAWARDENA Former Director of Intelligence

Going by the media, both print and electronic, there had been overwhelming intelligence on the impending disaster that took away over 300 lives and injured over 500. Perhaps for the first time even intelligence agencies of friendly nations such as MI6, Mossad, FBI and RAW have fed the local counterparts with ‘red hot stuff’ in intelligence parlance. Understandable indeed, with the IS and its affiliated cells becoming a clear and present danger to peaceful democracies.

How is it that intelligence on this calamity that was to cruelly affect the nation as never before in its recent history, was not conveyed to the President and the country?

Intelligence that portends severe damage to the country must necessarily come to the notice of the Secretary/Defence of the President. I say this with authority.

In the late seventies of the last century when I was the Director of Intelligence, it was my report that was discussed by the National Security Council, presided over by the President. In exceptional situations I was able to bypass the Secretary/Defence, meet the President direct and personally brief him.

The failure on the part of the President and the National Security Council to initiate the necessary precautions, and also to alert the nation, is an unpardonable blunder.

Even if intelligence alerts had been ignored, proper police action on the Wanathavilla detection would have prevented the carnage.

The bombshell exposure by Minister Kabir Hashim that the suspects had been released on the request of a ‘Top’ politician is shocking, to say the least.

The ‘Top’ politician, the police that investigated the case, and even Minister Kabir have a lot to answer. The Minister responsible for the release of the suspects is a traitor who has to be taken in to custody and subjected to due process.

Mr. President, even if you get rid of the IGP, please give his successor the liberty to carry out his duties according to the law without political interference.

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