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 »
Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."
Donald Trump is expected Monday to sign an executive order which will mark his administration's first action on offshore oil and gas drilling. The order is expected to call for a "review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration."
Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.
"Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right politician Marine Le Pen led the first round of voting in France’s presidential election, according to early projections, as voters redrew the political map, placing the European Union at the center of a new political divide. Projections by the Kantar-Sofres polling firm showed Mr. Macron on track to win the first round with about 24% of the vote, ahead of Ms. Le Pen with nearly 22%." The vote marks the end of the country's dominance by conservative and socialist parties. The top vote-getters head to a runoff on May 7.
President Trump will deliver the keynote address for at the National Holocaust Museum's National Day of Remembrance ceremony on Tuesday. He'll speak from the Capitol Rotunda. The move is likely an effort to try to mend fences with Jewish groups. In January, "the White House ignited controversy when it didn't mention Jews or anti-Semitism in a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day." And certain members of his inner circle are still suspected of harboring white supremacist or anti-Semitic views."