The Use of Intelligence Gathering and Sharing in the Management of Transnational Terrorism in Kenya; 1975 – 2018
Wanderi, Simon Mwangi
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Intelligence gathering and sharing (IG & S) crosscuts all other approaches whether political, economic, legislative or ideological employed to curb transnational terrorism (TT). However, despite Kenya’s efforts to IG & S, transnational terrorism remains a major security threat. This raises the question, is the problem in the institutions, the system or the methods used in IG & S? The central objective of this study therefore was to assess the use of IG & S in the management of TT in Kenya. The research was anchored on four theories: liberalism, realism, constructivism and securitization theories. The research covered diverse categories of informants from various institutions and agencies cross cut by intelligence gathering and sharing in Kenya. These included: security officers from the national police service, members of civil society organizations working in areas of security and human rights, academicians and members of the public. Government officers, members of community policing department and former police reservists were also included. Exploratory research design was applied. An exploratory research design was applied to carry out this study due to its strength in addressing the study problem through an in-depth analysis of issues over time. Based on the design, a historical interrogation approach was applied to interrogate various facets of IG & S and terrorism in Kenya whereby they were chronologically documented, and the changes that have occurred over time analyzed. Purposive sampling and snowballing sampling techniques were used to select a sample size of 113 respondents. Primary data was collected using open and close-ended questionnaires, and interview guide. Data analysis done through mixed analysis method whereby quantitative data was analyzed through descriptive statistics of percentage, mean, standard deviations and frequency. Qualitative data was analyzed through content analysis where themes and or trends were extracted and interpreted in line with the study objectives. The findings revealed that TT has morphed overtime in terms of actors, motives and targets. Initial TT attacks in the country were indirect attacks on U. S and Israel interest but most subsequent attacks have been direct targets to Kenya. The study found that diverse security reforms that have been implemented in the country since independence which have helped to improve IG & S. Major improvements were highlighted to have been streamlined in technology used, training and the information shared. Among the different forms of intelligence, human intelligence and signals intelligence were found to have played the greatest role in containing TT. The study concludes that the question of intelligence being effective or ineffective in curbing transnational terrorism is dependent on the reaction of all security agencies who receive it. Therefore, although TT is still high, effectiveness of IG & S in the country has improved overtime but more needs to be done especially on precision of the target of anticipated attack and timeliness of the intelligence gathered and shared to other security agencies. This is evidenced by numerous incidents of TT thwarted. The study recommends that the ability of terrorists to morph should be met with equal efforts by security forces changing their strategies in gathering and sharing information on terrorism from members of the public. All agencies should continuously go through retooling and capacity building on early warnings. Furthermore, there is need for interagency cooperation in sharing intelligence. Both domestic and foreign agencies involved in intelligence sharing should work together to boost their confidence with each other to enhance their readiness and commitment to share security intelligence.