Wednesday, 18 July 2012

SIS - State Intelligence Service (Sri Lanka)

 SIS - (State Intelligence Service) is an intelligence agency of the Sri Lankan government. It is tasked with both internal and external intelligence. It comes directly under the Ministry of Defence.
Its primary function is collection of internal and external intelligence, counter-terrorism and covert operations. In addition, it is responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations and persons in order to advise Sri Lankan foreign policymakers.

The SIS has its headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The present SIS objectives also include:
Safeguard Sri Lankan interests and national security inside and outside the country.
Monitor the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on Sri Lanka's national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy and to collect foreign and domestic intelligence in such cases.
Co-ordination of intelligence functions of the three military services.
Moulding international public opinion with the help of the strong and vibrant Sri Lankan diaspora.

  SIS - (State Intelligence Service) was formally known as the National Intelligence Bureau.
 Directorate of Foreign Intelligence & the Directorate of Internal Intelligence.

Until 1984, the Sri Lanka Police were responsible for internal intelligence functions, first under the Special Branch, and later under the Intelligence Services Division. The perceived failure of the Intelligence Services Division during the riots of July 1983 led the J.R. Jayawardene Government to re-evaluate the nation's intelligence network, and in 1984 the President set up a National Intelligence Bureau. The new organization combined intelligence units from the Army, Navy, Air force, and Police. It has been since renamed the State Intelligence Service in 2006.

Role of Intelligence Services

One of the most important aspects in Sri Lanka's successful war against LTTE terrorism has been its covert operations. In fact, clandestine operations, undertaken by different branches of the state intelligence apparatus, particularly the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Naval Intelligence, gave the military a hitherto unavailable edge to the government, though the LTTE Intelligence, too, scored significant successes during the conflict.
The police also in their investigations into LTTE activity made major breakthroughs, thereby helping the overall military effort against the LTTE.
As the country celebrates the first anniversary of the armed forces' triumph over the LTTE with a series of events, culminating with an unprecedented military parade on May 20, it would be pertinent to discuss the contribution made by the intelligence services.
Intelligence services have never been the strongpoint of the Sri Lankan forces, though Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, after the eruption of major hostilities, pushed them to the limit. Although the LTTE had the initial advantage over the government, state intelligence services gradually turned the tables on the enemy. The LTTE almost succeeded in eliminating the then Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka (April 2006) and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (December 2006). Had they succeeded the UPFA would have collapsed.
The then chief LTTE negotiator Anton Balasingham warned veteran lawyer Gomin Dayasri, who had been a member of the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva in early 2006 for a meeting with the LTTE, that the Sri Lankan military had been infiltrated.
Balasingham revealed that there were many collaborators among the military. Although the government delegation at that time felt that this was part of Tigers' strategy to unsettle the government, subsequent events revealed the extent the LTTE Intelligence had infiltrated the armed forces.
The arrest of SP Lakshman Cooray following information elicited from an LTTE operative last year, revealed a plan to assassinate President Rajapaksa. Cooray is widely alleged to have helped the LTTE to assassinate the then Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Inquiries revealed how the LTTE had manipulated Cooray to gain access to VIPs. If they had succeeded, the LTTE would have assassinated President Rajapaksa, though they had lost the war in the Vanni.
Among the men in the LTTE payroll had been senior army officers, identities of some of whom would never be known.
The possibility of the LTTE having moles came to light way back in April 2006 when the government ordered retaliatory air strikes following an abortive bid to assassinate the then Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The LTTE had used a public address system to alert the civilians of an imminent air strike about 30 minutes before Kfirs approached the area. It had been the first air strike targeting the LTTE after several years and the LTTE could not have had any other way to receive a warning than through an informant.
The LTTE intelligence had help from some Army officers and the underworld to go after their colleagues. They assassinated Major Tuan Mutalif, Colonel Tuan Meedin both of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) as well as Army's No 3 Maj Gen Parami Kulatunga at the initial stages of the eelam war IV. The LTTE Intelligence had caused irreparable damage to both political and military leaderships over the years by eliminating many important leaders.
State intelligence services took advantage of the split caused by one-time LTTE ground commander Karuna to their advantage. The dispute between Prabhakaran and Karuna had been one of the major plus points for the government as it exploited their hostility to sow dissention among the fighting cadre as well as its intelligence service.
Under Defence Secretary Rajapaksa's leadership, state intelligence services built-up a cohesive apparatus, which achieved significant success, including anti-LTTE operations abroad. The Defence Ministry posted several military officers overseas as part of its efforts to streamline covert operations targeting the enemy's international network. Their untiring efforts led to the arrest and extradition last year of Kumaran Padmanathan alias 'KP' widely believed to be chief of arms procurement.
The subsequent seizure of an LTTE vessel (Princess Chrishantha) in Indonesian territorial waters by an undercover squad of Navy personnel highlighted the importance of special operations. Although the full details of the operation cannot still be divulged, the country could be proud of their unprecedented achievement, perhaps the most difficult operation conducted in foreign territory. Had any one of them fell to government authorities, he would have had to serve a prison term. Over the past four years, intelligence services have displayed qualities of a professional service capable of handling major challenges.
Intelligence services of the Army and the Navy at some instances competed for glory. One such instance was the seizure of a truck loaded with over 1,000 kgs of high explosives by the latter in Trincomalee. Although some may have not approved of such rivalry, it may have contributed to the rapid collapse of the common enemy.
Although the Army never identified the body of LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman following the final battle on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon, he could not have survived the onslaught. Pottu Amman is widely believed to have stayed with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran until the last 48 hours before the conclusion of the war.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity a senior official says a full picture of operations undertaken by intelligence service may never be made public. He said: "It was a difficult war due to many factors, including foreign interference and a section of the opposition playing politics." Responding to a query by The Island, he said that the recent assassination of a top Hamas commander allegedly by the Israeli Intelligence underscored the high level of commitment on the part of personnel engaged in such operations.
The LTTE intelligence brazenly used Sinhala youth and in some instances the underworld to their gain. They could not have sustained 'hit and run' attacks in the South without the help of locals. Despite early setbacks, investigators gradually rounded up LTTE operatives and their collaborators, including some police and security forces officers. A thorough investigation and appraisal of LTTE strategy is required to study their methods of recruitment. It would be interesting to know whether any security forces or police officer had been a victim of a 'honey trap.' Foreign intelligence services routinely use women to trap government officials and the possibility of some of our own personnel being victims of such operations could not be ruled out against the backdrop of a claim by Minister Dallas Alahapperuma that some of his UPFA colleagues may have been targeted by foreign prostitutes working for the 'enemy.'
To the credit of the LTTE, it had an organized network of intelligence operatives, who gathered information and infiltrated the defence establishment at the risk of their lives. But in the final analysis, security forces had the wherewithal to overwhelm the LTTE and the role played by intelligence services in that victory was SIGNIFICANT.

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