U.S. establishes first overseas Joint Terrorism Task Force

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FBI and State Department officials pose with Kenyan police and intelligence officers on Monday, February 10, 2020 at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where the Kenyan attendees will undergo training in preparation for the newly announced Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force, the first such to be located outside of the U.S. and will be based in Nairobi. Photo: FBI

The FBI and the US State Department announced on Monday the launch of its first Joint Terrorism Task Force that will be located outside the United States. The agency which the FBI called “a multi-agency counterterrorism investigative force” will be located in Nairobi.

At the Monday ceremony at FBI headquarters in Quantico attended by Kenyan intelligence

U.S. Army Spc. Henry J. Mayfield Jr., 23, from Evergreen Park, Ill., was killed on Jan. 5, 2020, during an attack at Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Kenya.

officials, FBI and State Department officials said the impetus to establish the Joint Terrorism Task Force began in earnest following the al-Shabaab attack on the luxury DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi on January 16, 2019.

Among those at the ceremony to unveil the new task force was FBI International

Operations Division Section Chief Andrew “Buck” Anderson and the agency’s Training Division Assistant Director, Renae McDermott as well as the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Nairobi, Abass Golfrey. The State Department was represented at the unveiling by Laurie Freeman who is the Deputy Director of the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau.

The announcement of the new overseas task force comes just a month after one U.S

FBI Legal Attaché Nairobi Abass Golfrey speaks at the unveiling of the first first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to be located outside of the United States in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, February 10, 2020. Photo: FBI

. soldier and two American Department of Defense contractors were killed at Camp Simba, a Kenyan military base located in the County of Lamu. Al-Shabaab was blamed for the attack.

According to U.S. officials who spoke Monday, 42 Kenyan investigators receive a 12-week intensive counterterrorism training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia using methodologies used by U.S.-based counterterrorism joint task forces. Additionally, the 42 will be “trained to handle sensitive counterterrorism intelligence shared with the Kenyan government.”

Officials stressed that investigations carried out by the Nairobi-based Joint Terrorism Task

FBI International Operations Division Section Chief Andrew “Buck” Anderson speaks at the unveiling of the first first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to be located outside of the United States in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, February 10, 2020. Photo: FBI

Force will be in accordance with “international law enforcement standards.”

“The FBI is proud to have the opportunity to work with our Kenyan law enforcement partners on this initiative,” said Assistant Director of the International Operations Division Charles Spencer. “The first Kenyan JTTF will allow for a sharing of experience, knowledge, and capabilities that will enhance our shared commitment to countering terrorism around the world.”

Officials at the unveiling said that cases the task force investigates will be prosecuted in Kenya’s courts, which they said “promotes the U.S. goal of enabling foreign partners to successfully counter terrorist threats.”

Kenya’s Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti was present at

Department of State Counterterrorism Bureau Deputy Director of Programs Laurie Freeman speaks at the unveiling of the first first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to be located outside of the United States in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, February 10, 2020. Photo: FBI

Monday’s ceremony to announce the task force. He called the U.S. a valued partner in combating terrorism.

“I appreciate the effort and resources the FBI and Department of State have dedicated toward improving the capabilities of our officers through training, experience, and insight. Due to globalization and the rapid advancement in technology, terrorists and their sympathizers have also changed tactics and devised new methods to further their agenda. Endeavors such as the Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force will allow for a multi-agency approach to achieve common objectives and assist us in obtaining the upper hand against the enemy.”

About Tom Gitaa

Tom is the President and Publisher of Mshale and chair of the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC). As Mshale founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation.Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the DishNetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president of  The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul. Tom has previously served in the board of directors of Global Minnesota, the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has also previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa and. He sits on the board of the United Nations Association.

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