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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting December 17, 2008

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #1143 3521112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171112Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9066
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2469

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001143

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 DECEMBER 17, 2008

REF: STATE 129801

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on December 17, 2008. The EAC
discussed post's security posture in light of the information
provided reftel. The EAC discussed the current threat
environment, the need to have RSO staff present in Colombo
during the holiday persiod, and whether to place the MSG
Detachment and the LGF on alert. The EAC also reviewed
possible soft targets such as major hotel chains, which are
located in current high security zones. End summary.

2. (SBU) On December 17, 2008, AmEmbassy Colombo convened an
EAC meeting. Present for the meeting were Deputy Chief of
Mission, Regional Security Officer, Assistant Regional
Security Officer, Regional Affairs Officer, Political
Officer, Economic Officer, Management Officer, Consular
Officer, Public Affairs Officer, USAID Director, Defense
Attache' OPSCO, International Broadcasting Bureau Station
Chief, and Community Liaison Officer. The agenda items for
the meeting were:

-- Holiday Security Planning and Security Environment Review
-- The necessity of placing MSG Detachment on alert
-- Review of leave schedule for RSO office and LGF personnel
-- Security for possible soft targets in and around Colombo

3. (SBU) The RSO averred, and the EAC concurred, that the
threat described reftel was not applicable to the security
situation in Sri Lanka. Neither the RSO nor any other EAC
members had information regarding a specific and credible
threat to Americans or American interests in Sri Lanka. The
EAC agreed that the threat to the official and expatriate
American communities remains "wrong place/wrong time" - i.e.
being in proximity to a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) attack on a Government of Sri Lanka target -
political, economic, military or police personnel or
facilities. The EAC also agreed that post's security posture
is commensurate with the actual threat and recommended no
additional measures at this time. Moreover, EAC did not
believe that the security situation warrants issuing an
amended Warden notice.

4. (SBU) The RSO advised the EAC that neither the RSO nor the
ARSO planned to leave the country during the holidays and
that one or both would be in Colombo at any given time during
the period. The Local Guard Force supervisors would be on
duty. The RSO had not augmented the LGF, but few, if any,
guards would be taking leave and the LGF would not experience
any reductions in force. Only one MSG had asked for leave,
but the Detachment expects two incoming MSGs. Therefore, the
Detachment would actually have one additional Marine on duty
during the holidays. RSO further noted that he had recently
met with the Colombo country council of the Overseas Security
Advisory Council to discuss the terrorist attacks in Mumbai
and soft target security in general. Regarding hotels,
restaurants, and other potential soft targets, RSO noted that
most are located within high security zones, in which GSL
security forces are on high alert and vehicles and
pedestrians are subject to search. In that respect, the EAC
concluded that security for potential soft targets is
commensurate to the threat.

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