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
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
. 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
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
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.”