Obama Admin. Fears al-Shabab Could Duplicate Kenya Attack in U.S.

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 26, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

The United States is send­ing in­vest­ig­at­ors to Nairobi, Kenya, to gath­er forensic in­form­a­tion and de­tails about the re­cent deadly at­tack in a shop­ping mall, cit­ing con­cerns that the re­spons­ible ter­ror­ist group could try a sim­il­ar as­sault on the U.S. home­land, the New York Times re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day.

The FBI already has been mon­it­or­ing the Somali Is­lam­ist ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tion al-Shabab, which has ties to al-Qaida. The U.S. gov­ern­ment has in­ves­ted large sums of money in counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions tar­get­ing al-Shabab. However, the multi-day siege in Nairobi of the West­g­ate shop­ping com­plex and the killings of at least 67 people there has shown the world the group is not yet de­feated.

“The more we know about the plan­ning that went in­to this, the way it was con­duc­ted, what was used, the people in­volved, the bet­ter we can pro­tect Amer­ica,” U.S. Am­bas­sad­or to Kenya Robert Go­dec said, ex­press­ing solid­ar­ity with the East Afric­an na­tion.

Not even 24 hours after the mall siege came to an end, more than 20 FBI in­vest­ig­at­ors scoured the scene to gath­er bio­met­ric data and stud­ied cam­er­as, com­puters and fire­arms in the hopes of fig­ur­ing out how the at­tack was de­vised and or­ches­trated. Mem­bers of the New York Joint Ter­ror­ism Task Force unit are ex­pec­ted to shortly travel to Nairobi, an uniden­ti­fied law en­force­ment source said.

As of yet, there are no signs al-Shabab is plan­ning spe­cif­ic strikes on the United States. Still, the group’s abil­ity to gath­er ad­her­ents from the coun­try and oth­er West­ern na­tions is more pro­nounced than any oth­er al-Qaida af­fil­i­ated or­gan­iz­a­tion, The Hill news­pa­per re­por­ted.

“This is a real con­cern be­cause al-Shabab has a real re­cruit­ment pro­cess. And how did I hear this? I heard it from them on tele­vi­sion,” Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Di­anne Fein­stein (D-Cal­if.) said.

Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mac Thorn­berry (R-Texas), however, re­portedly does not see the or­gan­iz­a­tion pos­ing a ser­i­ous threat to the United States, and views the Nairobi as­sault as a fi­nal at­tempt at main­tain­ing rel­ev­ance after com­ing close to be­ing crushed in Somalia.

“When you pin a rattlesnake in­to a corner, they are go­ing to strike out,” Thorn­berry, who chairs the House Armed Ser­vices sub­com­mit­tee on in­tel­li­gence and emer­ging threats, said in an in­ter­view with The Hill.

What We're Following See More »
Earnest: Overriding Obama’s Veto Was “Embarrassing”
39 minutes ago

Hyperbole alert! Following the Senate's decision to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. court, the White House has responded forcefully, specifically White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983," Earnest said on Air Force One. The House is likely to follow suit in overriding Obama's veto when it takes up the vote.

Senate Overrides Obama’s Veto
2 hours ago
Former Israeli President & PM Shimon Peres Dies at 93
5 hours ago

Two weeks after a massive stroke, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president and prime minister of Israel Shimon Peres passed away late Tuesday night. In a political, military, and diplomatic career that lasted nearly 70 years, Peres was influential both in building up the formidable strength of the Israeli military and in seeking to negotiate lasting peace with Israel's many neighboring Arab countries. Within hours of the announcement of his death, both condolences and tributes began pouring in, including from former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Democrats Taking Aim at Gary Johnson
5 hours ago

"Democrats panicked by third-party candidates drawing support away from Hillary Clinton are ramping up their attacks against Gary Johnson and warning that a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump. Liberal groups are passing around embarrassing videos of Johnson and running ads against him warning about his positions on issues like climate change that are important to young voters and independents."

Dutch Investigators: MH17 Was Downed by Russian Launcher
5 hours ago

Russo-Western relations are getting thornier all the time. "Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia. Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon, and reported its arrival in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine." Russia, of course, is denying culpability.