Intelligence chief sacked over Easter attacks probe

Sri Lanka’s President has sacked the national intelligence chief and will not cooperate with a parliamentary investigation into security lapses before the Easter suicide bombings, officials said on Saturday.

Maithripala Sirisena summoned an emergency Cabinet meeting on Friday night to oppose a parliamentary select committee probe into the attacks. Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis was sacked after testifying to the inquiry last week that the attacks could have been averted. He also said the President had failed to hold regular security meetings to assess the threat from Islamist radicals.

Live telecast stopped

Mr. Sirisena’s office did not give a reason for the sacking. Halfway through the testimony, the live telecast of the proceedings was stopped on the President’s orders, official sources said. A ministerial source said Mr. Sirisena has refused to allow any police, military or intelligence personnel to testify before the committee.

The source added that the heated Cabinet meeting ended “inconclusively” without taking a decision on whether to suspend the parliamentary probe. Mr. Sirisena’s office said the President had told senior police officers on Friday that he will not allow any serving officer to testify.

The Defence Secretary and police chief have suggested that the President, who is also Defence Minister, did not follow proper protocols in dealing with intelligence warnings about the bombings.