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Cablegate: Bomb Threat Called in to Amembassy Colombo

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 002294

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DS/DSS/ITA, DS/ICI/PII AND DS/IP/SA

EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES FOR RSOS

E.O.12958: DECL: 1.6 X6
TAGS: ASEC PTER CE
SUBJECT: BOMB THREAT CALLED IN TO AMEMBASSY COLOMBO

REF: COLOMBO 2231 (NOTAL)

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) ON DECEMBER 12, 2002 AT APPROXIMATELY 1045 HOURS, AN
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLED THE EMBASSY AND SAID TO THE OPERATOR,
"THERE IS A BOMB IN THE EMBASSY." THE CALLER WAS DESCRIBED AS A
LOCAL MALE, WELL EDUCATED WITH CLEARLY SPOKEN ENGLISH. THE
CALLER IMMEDIATELY HUNG UP.

2. (SBU) GIVEN THE INFREQUENCY OF SUCH THREATS IN COLOMBO (THIS WAS
THE FIRST ONE IN AT LEAST FIVE YEARS, PERHAPS LONGER) ACTING RSO
REACTED THE MARINES AND CALLED THE SRI LANKA POLICE SPECIAL TASK
FORCE (STF).

3. (SBU) THE A/RSO CLOSED POST TWO AND THE PAC AND INSTRUCTED ALL
VISITORS IN THE CONSULAR SECTION TO LEAVE THE EMBASSY GROUNDS.

4. (SBU) POST ONE MADE A SELECTONE ANNOUNCEMENT CALLING ON ALL STAFF
TO SEARCH THEIR RESPECTIVE AREAS. THE LOCAL GUARDS SEARCHED THE
EMBASSY GROUNDS AND THE MARINES SEARCHED THE COMMON AREAS OF THE
CHANCERY. IN ADDITION, RSO STAFF CONDUCTED A SWEEP OF THE
CHANCERY USING ITEMISER TRAPS.

5. (SBU) NO UNUSUAL OBJECTS WERE DETECTED AND ALL ITEMISER RESULTS
WERE NEGATIVE. IN ONE HOUR, THE EMBASSY WAS REOPENED TO THE
PUBLIC. A FINAL SWEEP WITH AN STF BOMB DOG WAS ALSO NEGATIVE FOR
EXPLOSIVES.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: THE A/RSO IS CONCERNED THAT THIS CALL IS ANOTHER
REFLECTION OF AN INCREASE IN ANTI-AMERICAN SENTIMENT IN SRI
LANKA. IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT ROCK THROWING INCIDENT REPORTED IN
REFTEL, THE OVERALL INCREASE IN WORLD-WIDE ANTI-AMERICAN
SENTIMENT AND THE LACK OF A PRECEDENT OF BOMB THREATS AT
AMEMBASSY COLOMBO, THE A/RSO DECIDED TO RESPOND WITH ALL
AVAILABLE ASSETS. EMBASSY AND HOST NATION RESPONSE WAS EFFECTIVE
AND PRODUCED MINIMAL DISRUPTION TO EMBASSY OPERATIONS. A/RSO
HOPES THIS IS NOT A SIGN OF MORE TO COME. END COMMENT


WILLS

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