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Tag: Kenya

Secret Service Tough Guys? Agents Show Soft Side in Kenya Ahead of Clinton Visit

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents have come under heavy criticism over the past few years for reports of wild sex parties, drunken driving and other seedy behavior.

But that media attention often misses the positive side of the Secret Service.

While preparing for former president Bill Clinton’s visit to Nairobi, Kenya, several agents spotted children playing soccer with an empty milk jug and sprung to action, The Washington Post reports.

The agents bought new soccer balls, and since they didn’t want credit for it, they “gave the gifts to Clinton’s permanent detail and asked for the balls to be delivered to the school’s headmaster,” The Post wrote.

Clinton also was reportedly moved.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI’s Legal Attache in Nairobi Talks about the Attack at the Shopping Mall

Part 2 of an interview with Dennis Brady, the FBI’s legal attaché in Nairobi, Kenya. This is interview is  from the FBI website.

Q: On September 21, 2013, al Shabaab gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Over a period of several days, they killed more than 70 people. What was the FBI’s response?

Brady: The attack started on a Saturday. I was called to the embassy, and we immediately began securing resources to assist the Kenyans. Our people were on the scene from the first day. The FBI’s role was—and continues to be—to facilitate, enable, and assist the Kenyan investigation and prosecution regarding a crime that occurred largely against Kenyan citizens on their soil.

World mapFBI Legal Attaché OfficesThe FBI has offices around the globe. These offices—called legal attachés, or legats—are located in U.S. Embassies.  More

Q: After the attack ended, what was the crime scene like?

Brady: Very complicated. Westgate was a large mall, four stories, with underground parking and an attached parking structure. In the process of fighting the attackers, there were explosions and a fire. The area where the attackers were had home furnishings that caught fire. The fire spread and continued to burn, causing that part of the structure to collapse into a pit that smoldered for weeks.

Q: Was it dangerous for investigators working to collect evidence?

Brady: It’s amazing we got our Evidence Response Team [ERT] people down into that pit. It was a very difficult place to work. While ERT was doing its work, every now and then a propane tank would explode or vehicles on the edge of the collapse would fall in and catch fire. But there was a lot of attention paid to the soundness of the structure and where we could reasonably collect evidence. Safety of the investigators was paramount. We had an FBI structural engineer and hazardous materials experts on scene in addition to our other assets. At the height of the initial investigation, the Bureau had more than 80 people on the ground there.

Q: Where does the investigation stand now?

Brady: The Kenyans have charged four individuals in connection with the terror attack, and the case is moving through the court process. The four are directly connected to the individuals who physically carried out the attack. Nobody is under the impression that we have fully identified the entire network in this attack, however. That’s why the investigation continues.

Q: There have been conflicting reports about what happened to the gunmen. Can you comment?

Brady: We believe, as do the Kenyan authorities, that the four gunmen inside the mall were killed. Our ERT made significant finds, and there is no evidence that any of the attackers escaped from the area where they made their last stand. Three sets of remains were found. Also, the Kenyans were on the scene that first day and set up a very secure crime scene perimeter, making an escape unlikely. Additionally, had the attackers escaped, it would have been publicly celebrated and exploited for propaganda purposes by al Shabaab. That hasn’t happened.

Q: All in all, are you pleased with how the legat responded to the crisis?

Brady: Very much so. Our people stood shoulder to shoulder with the Kenyans through some very difficult days. It’s also worth noting that it wasn’t just Americans helping the Kenyans. It was an international effort. But yes, I am proud of how the legat responded and how we were able to assist our host country when they most needed us.

Read Part I

FBI Works Around Carnage to Investigate Nairobi Mall Attack

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI began the grueling process of investigating a bullet-riddled Nairobi mall where more than 60 people were killed by terrorists, the Associated Press reports.

Agents were working along bodies crushed by rubble as they began fingerprint, DNA and ballistic analysis to determine the identities of the terrorists.

The FBI believes Americans may have been involved.

Al-Shabab, a Somali Islamic extremist group, took credit for the attack.

FBI: Were Americans Involved in Terror Attack at Kenyan Mall?

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine whether as many as five Americans were part of a team of terrorists who took over a Kenyan mall over the weekend, unleashing an attack that led to the death of at least 68 people, NBC News reports.

The probe comes after a group purporting to be behind the attacks, Somali al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab, indicated Americans were involved and listed their names and home states.

At least two of them came from the St. Paul-Minneapolis area in Minnesota, which has a large Somali population, the group claimed, according to NBC News.

U.S. Embassy Bomber Gets Life

Ghailani pictured upper right hand corner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which claimed the lives of 224 people and wounded thousands.

Ghailani, 36, is the first ex-Gitmo detainee to be prosecuted in civilian court. But his case raised anxieties on Capitol Hill and elsewhere over  the issue of trying Gitmo detainee cases in civilian courts after the government ran into some difficulties and only won convictions on 1 of 285 counts against Ghailani.

He was convicted Nov. 17 of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property. Authorities charged that he helped in the preparation of the attack, which included buying TNT.

But despite the conviction on one count,  U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan handed him a life sentence,  and said, according to the New York Times: “The very purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction.”

He is the fifth person to be convicted in connection with the embassy bombings.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement following the sentencing, saying:

“Today, in Manhattan Federal Court, justice was served. Ahmed Ghailani is a remorseless terrorist, mass murderer, and Al Qaeda operative, and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison. As we said in court on the day this trial began, Ghailani was a vital member of the East African terror cell that murdered 224 innocent people and wounded thousands of others in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Finally, twelve-and-a-half years after those devastating and despicable attacks, Ahmed Ghailani will pay for his crimes.

“This was a difficult case for a number of reasons. Our goal all along was to hold Ghailani accountable for his heinous conduct, and, no matter the obstacles, to see to it that he would receive the punishment he deserved. Today, our goal was achieved, as Ahmed Ghailani will never again breathe free air.”

“The reason we are at this point today is the extraordinary hard work done in difficult circumstances by a lot of people.  I salute the unflagging commitment, dedication, and talent of the FBI agents who so thoroughly investigated this case and the prosecutors who so ably tried it.”

“They spent years of their lives putting this case together — traveling around the world, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, and piecing together fragments of evidence from the bombed-out shells of two American embassies. I would like to personally thank the lawyers from my office who oversaw the prosecution — Michael Farbiarz, Nick Lewin, Harry Chernoff, and Sean Buckley. I would also like to thank the hard-working detectives of the NYPD and all our other partners in the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Tanzanian National Police, and the Kenyan Police for their exceptional work and assistance in this case.”

NY Juror in Gitmo Case Says She Feels Threatened by Fellow Jurors

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Big Apple.  Big trial. Big headache.

The latest big headache in the federal trial in New York of a Gitmo detainee surfaced Monday when a juror on the third day of deliberations, asked the judge to remove her, saying she felt threatened by fellow jurors because she was at odds with them on a verdict, the Associated Press reported.

“My conclusion is not going to change,” the juror wrote the judge, not indicating her position, according to AP. “I feel (I am being) attacked for my conclusion.”

AP noted that the note from the juror raised the possibility of a hung jury.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan called jurors into the courtroom, reminded them of his instructions and told them to continue deliberating, AP reported.

Juries are deliberating the fate of Ahmed Ghailani who is accused of helping al-Qaida buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in Tanzania in 1998. That, along with a simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, AP reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Immigration Judge Grants Asylum for Pres. Obama’s Kenyan Aunt

obama auntBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After a protracted legal battle, President Barack Obama’s Kenyan aunt has been granted asylum, the Associated Press reported.

A U.S. Immigration judge in Boston mailed the decision on Friday, AP reported. The aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is the half sister of Obama’s later father. A person must prove that they will be persecuted if they return to their homeland.

AP reported that the reason for her request was never made public. But her lawyer had previously said she applied for asylum because of the violence in that country.

She first moved to the U.S. in 2000 on a valid visa, and was ordered deported in 2004 after he request for asylum was rejected.  But she remained in the country and was living in public housing in Boston. The New York Times reported that she first sought asylum in 2002.

The legal battle became fodder for anti-Obama forces.

Kenyan Prez Accepts FBI Offer to Help Investigate Murders of 2 Human Rights Workers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire

The Guardian newspaper in London is reporting that the Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga has accepted an offer from the FBI to help probe the murders of two human rights workers.

The human rights workers, Oscar Kamau Kingara and Paul Oulo,  who were highly critical of police killings, were shot to death last Thursday when gunmen blocked their car on a street in Nairobi, the paper said. Some have been speculating that police were involved.

“Officers from FBI are engaged to work alongside the Kenya police in carrying out investigations,” the paper quoted the prime minister as saying. “In the perception of the people, police themselves are an accomplice.”

The Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights has called for an independent probe.