Joint managing of NIS and police ‘was weak’

A Kenyan soldier gives the thumbs up signal on September 24, 2013 after clearing the top floor balcony and interior of the Westgate mall in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO |

What you need to know:

  • Though the Nation has heard that information was shared with some National Security Advisory Committee members, it is obvious that the escalation of that warning was not conducted with vigour.
  • Away from security politics, from public documents, it was clear that NIS had picked the signs of an attack and made an attempt to warn the rest of the security establishment.

More than any other agency, NIS has been blamed by politicians, and by extension the public, for failing to detect and provide information on the attack.

From interviews and parliamentary filings, it is clear that NIS had not infiltrated the cell that attacked Westgate.

Though the Nation has heard that information was shared with some National Security Advisory Committee members, it is obvious that the escalation of that warning was not conducted with vigour.

The plot was made in Somalia and the logistics planning in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where the reach of Kenyan spies is far from strong.

Those who support the intelligence community argue that bureaucrats and the police are used to being spoon-fed, that in the past, attacks were foiled only when police were told, “they are in that car, go arrest them”, and that in the real world, things don’t work quite like that.

Away from security politics, from public documents, it was clear that NIS had picked the signs of an attack and made an attempt to warn the rest of the security establishment. Its warning, three days before the attack, that terrorists were planning to attack Israeli targets and that security should be beefed up was ignored and later denied.

That either NIS does not have the credibility for its alerts to be taken seriously, or the other agencies and policy makers are so casual that they routinely ignore intelligence warnings bespeaks a system in serious trouble.

Indeed, there is overall agreement that Westgate was one of four sensitive Israeli installations.

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