Bill to empower all intelligence services gets Cabinet nod

Bandula Gunawardana

Close on the heels of ditching the Counter Terrorism Bill, proposed by the previous Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, the current Rajapaksa government has approved the drafting of a National Intelligence Act.

Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Higher Education and Technology and Innovation, Bandula Gunawardena addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Department, yesterday, said that certain intelligence activities had been hampered due to the lack of legal clout and, therefore, there was a pressing need for laws to regulate and empower the performance of such duties.

Accordingly, the draft of a National Intelligence Act presented by State Minister of Defence Chamal Rajapaksa, had been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday, he announced.

Gunawardena said that the Bill, once endorsed by Parliament, would ensure the protection of Sri Lankans from all extremist elements and help strengthen national security in the process.

The national intelligence services had made an invaluable contribution to forecasting and taking necessary measures to prevent incidents that posed threats to the country, he noted, adding that such efforts required specific legal backing, which the proposed new piece of legislation would provide.

(Source: The Island – By Zacki Jabbar)