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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting 11/19/2008 Regarding

P 191222Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8925
INFO AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001046

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/RD/SCA, DS/DSS/ITA, CA AND SA/INS
NEW DELHI FOR LEGAL ATTACHE OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC PTER
SUBJECT: EMBASSY COLOMBO EAC MEETING 11/19/2008 REGARDING
NOVEMBER 27, LTTE "HEROES DAY"

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on November 19, 2008. The EAC
discussed post's security posture and security for the
official and expatriate American communities vis-a-vis
possible Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist
attacks in conjunction with the LTTE's November 27 "Heroes
Day." The EAC discussed threat information, travel (official
and personal) during the period November 20-28, and
notifications to the expatriate American citizen (Amcit)
community. The EAC recommended that Mission personnel
consider deferring non-essential travel during the period;
that personnel consult the RSO prior to any travel outside
Colombo; that Embassy officers carefully review their
schedules for this period; and that the Consular Section
issue a Warden message. End summary.

2. (SBU) On November 19, 2008, AmEmbassy Colombo convened an
EAC meeting. Present for the meeting were the Ambassador,
Deputy Chief of Mission, Regional Security Officer, Consular
Officer, Economic Officer, International Broadcasting Bureau
Station Chief, Public Affairs Officer, Defense Attache,
Political Officer, Health Unit Officer, Department of
Homeland Security representative, USAID Director, Regional
Affairs Officer, Marine Security Guard Detachment Commander,
Management Officer, and Community Liaison Officer. The
agenda items for the meeting were:

-- Possible increased threat of LTTE terrorist activity
during the period leading up to, and immediately after, the
LTTE's Heroes Day on November 27

-- Security for the official and expatriate Amcit communities
in light of the potential increased threat

-- Official and personal travel during the period from
November 20-28

-- Notifications to the expatriate Amcit community

3. (SBU) The EAC discussed the potential for increased
terrorist activity in the run up to the LTTE's November 27
"Heroes Day," when LTTE leader Prabhakaran issues his annual
statement to his followers. Following past practice, the GSL
is warning of possible terrorist attacks in Colombo and other
areas of Sri Lanka. However, unlike recent years, the GSL's
recent military successes in the Northern Province have
pushed the LTTE into an ever-shrinking area. With their
backs against the wall, the LTTE might try to conduct
large-scale attacks in other areas of the country to boost
morale, rally support, and demonstrate that the LTTE is still
a viable fighting force. Members of the EAC had not received
specific threat information from their security and
intelligence contacts. The UN has instructed its staff to
restrict non-essential travel during this period.

4. (SBU) The EAC concurred that it is reasonable to believe
that the LTTE may attempt to carry out reprisal attacks
during the period of November 20-28. Therefore, while the
LTTE has not and most likely will not specifically target
American citizens or facilities, the overall threat to Amcits
is generally elevated during this period. Consequently, the
EAC recommended the following measures:

-- Mission employees should consider deferring non-essential
travel through November 28 and consult the RSO on a
case-by-case basis prior to traveling.

-- USG personnel should closely scrutinize their schedules
and planned events during this period so as to minimize, when
possible, contact with and proximity to high-profile LTTE
targets.

-- The Consular Section should issue a Warden message,
reminding the expatriate American community of the
possibility of attacks during this period and recommending
appropriate security measures.

5. (U) Post will continue to monitor the security environment
and will report further developments, if any, septel. POC
for this message is RSO Michael V. Perkins, who may be
contacted at 94.11.249.8885, 94.11.249.8888 (MSG Post 1 after
regular business hours), or via the classified and
unclassified email systems.
Blake

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