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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting 09/22/2008

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0889 2661229
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221229Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8698

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000889

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/RD/SCA, DS/DSS/ITA, CA AND SA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC PTER
SUBJECT: EMBASSY COLOMBO EAC MEETING 09/22/2008

REF: CRONIN/PERKINS TELCON OF 9/20/2008

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on September 22, 2008. The EAC
discussed post's security posture in light of the recent
terrorist attack of the US Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen and the
suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The EAC discussed threat information and notifications of the
expatriate American citizen (Amcit) community and the
American private sector entities. The EAC concurred that
these attacks did not require post to amend security
procedures or issue new security advice to the expatriate
Amcit community in Sri Lanka. End summary.

2. (SBU) On September 22, 2008, AmEmbassy Colombo convened a
meeting of the core EAC. Present for the meeting were the
Deputy Chief of Mission, Regional Security Officer, Political
Officer, Consular Officer, Regional Affairs Officer, Defense
Attach, Public Affairs Officer, Management Officer, and
USAID Mission Director. The agenda items for the meeting
were:

-- Whether the two attacks described above presented a threat
to, or changed the security environment for, the American
official and expatriate communities in Sri Lanka

-- Post's security profile and the need, if any, to upgrade
security for Mission facilities or residences in light of the
two attacks

-- The need, if any, to amend post's security advice to the
general American public and American expatriate community in
Sri Lanka

-- The instructions RSO received over the weekend to hold an
Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Country Council
meeting to discuss the events with American private sector
entities


3. (SBU) The EAC concurred that the two attacks did not
change post's security profile. The threat to American
citizens and Mission employees remains the possibility of
being in proximity to a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) attack on a GSL political, military, law enforcement
or economic target. No EAC members had any intelligence or
information that indicated that LTTE is likely to change its
tactics and directly target Western entities. No EAC members
had any intelligence or information from their sources
indicating that Al-Qaeda or similar transnational terrorist
groups are operating in Sri Lanka. Moreover, the GSL's focus
on stopping LTTE attacks by flooding the streets with massive
numbers of security personnel and establishing road blocks
throughout Colombo and the countryside would likely make
escaping the attention of host government security forces
difficult for Islamic extremist transnational terrorist
groups. Consequently, the EAC felt that it was not necessary,
at this time, to change or augment post's security measures
or to amend Travel Warnings or Warden messages.

4. (SBU) Regarding DS's instructions to RSOs in the region to
hold OSAC Country Council meetings on Sunday, September 21,
the RSO commented that he had tried to contact OSAC members
to hold the meeting as DS had directed. No OSAC members with
whom RSO had made contact responded positively to meeting on
Sunday. Therefore, the RSO had provided talking points to the
OSAC members in the form of email attachments. RSO stated
that he would gather the Country Council to meet as soon as
possible this week. (RSO comment - the OSAC meeting is set
for Tuesday, September 22 at 1600 hours local.)

5. (U) Post will continue to monitor the security environment
and 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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