SIS conducted political spying - Former Defence Secretary | Daily News


PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks:

SIS conducted political spying - Former Defence Secretary

Former Secretary of Defence Hemasiri Fernando told the Presidential Commission of Investigation (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks yesterday that the country’s State Intelligence Service (SIS) became a political intelligence service.

He said that the period after the Constitutional crisis was a time of political turmoil.

He said the State Intelligence Service was conducting political spying.

He also said he had not received an intelligence report on the possibility of a terrorist attack from the day he took over as Defence Secretary until April 8, and called on the Commission to investigate through a Committee of intelligence analysts if it could not accept what he was saying.

He said he had not received a direct message about the attack, but that he had received reports about Zaharan Hashim and that he was an extremist preacher.

Fernando was responding to a question raised by the Commission as to whether he had prior knowledge of the Easter Sunday attacks.

Fernando told the Commission that Director of State Intelligence Nilantha Jayawardena had direct links with former President Maithripala Sirisena.

“Within two or three days of my appointment, I went to meet former President Maithripala Sirisena and took some files to sign. There, when I was talking about some intelligence matter, Nilantha told me not to take it up. A similar thing happened on another occasion”.

Fernando said if there was any information that threatens national security, Nilantha Jayawardena may have told the President.

“If such a problem arises, Nilantha Jayawardena should meet me and discuss. He did not speak about this at the Security Council meeting held on April 09”.

When Sisira Mendis, the head of intelligence, asked him this, he said that he had sent a team. He said he would give a detailed report in two or three days, Fernando told the commission

Fernando said at the time there was a rift between himself and the President .

“This was because of something I spoke at a meeting.I was on the verge of resigning in May. But unfortunately the attacks took place before that,” he added.

Meanwhile on comments made by MP Harin Fernando on Thursday after appearing before the commission church sources said, a decision had been taken not to respond to the allegations made by MP Fernando as the Commission had already warned him with regard to his statement, which he had admitted that he had coined it up on the spur of the moment and not based on any facts.

“The church believes that it is a futile effort to keep responding to the unsubstantiated and reckless allegations and claims levelled by Fernando as the Commission had already reprimanded him regarding his derogatory statement,” a source said.