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2/14/14 1:38 PM FBI A Conversation with Our Legal Attach in Nairobi, Part 2

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On the Ground in Kenya
Part 2: Terror at the Westgate Mall
Part 2 of an interview with Dennis Brady, the FBIs legal attach in Nairobi, Kenya.
Q: On September 21, 2013, al Shabaab gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Over
a period of several days, they killed more than 70 people. What was the FBIs response?
Brady: The attack started on a Saturday. I was called to the embassy, and we immediately began
securing resources to assist the Kenyans. Our people were on the scene from the first day. The FBIs
role wasand continues to beto facilitate, enable, and assist the Kenyan investigation and
prosecution regarding a crime that occurred largely against Kenyan citizens on their soil.
Q: After the attack ended, what was the
crime scene like?
Brady: Very complicated. Westgate was
a large mall, four stories, with
underground parking and an attached
parking structure. In the process of
fighting the attackers, there were
explosions and a fire. The area where
the attackers were had home
furnishings that caught fire. The fire
spread and continued to burn, causing
that part of the structure to collapse into
a pit that smoldered for weeks.

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2/14/14 1:38 PM FBI A Conversation with Our Legal Attach in Nairobi, Part 2
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a pit that smoldered for weeks.
Q: Was it dangerous for investigators
working to collect evidence?
Brady: Its amazing we got our
Evidence Response Team [ERT] people
down into that pit. It was a very difficult place to work. While ERT was doing its work, every now and
then a propane tank would explode or vehicles on the edge of the collapse would fall in and catch fire.
But there was a lot of attention paid to the soundness of the structure and where we could reasonably
collect evidence. Safety of the investigators was paramount. We had an FBI structural engineer and
hazardous materials experts on scene in addition to our other assets. At the height of the initial
investigation, the Bureau had more than 80 people on the ground there.
Q: Where does the investigation stand now?
Brady: The Kenyans have charged four individuals in connection with the terror attack, and the case is
moving through the court process. The four are directly connected to the individuals who physically
carried out the attack. Nobody is under the impression that we have fully identified the entire network in
this attack, however. Thats why the investigation continues.
Q: There have been conflicting reports about what happened to the gunmen. Can you comment?
Brady: We believe, as do the Kenyan authorities, that the four gunmen inside the mall were killed. Our
ERT made significant finds, and there is no evidence that any of the attackers escaped from the area
where they made their last stand. Three sets of remains were found. Also, the Kenyans were on the
scene that first day and set up a very secure crime scene perimeter, making an escape unlikely.
Additionally, had the attackers escaped, it would have been publicly celebrated and exploited for
propaganda purposes by al Shabaab. That hasnt happened.
Q: All in all, are you pleased with how the legat responded to the crisis?
Brady: Very much so. Our people stood shoulder to shoulder with the Kenyans through some very
difficult days. Its also worth noting that it wasnt just Americans helping the Kenyans. It was an
international effort. But yes, I am proud of how the legat responded and how we were able to assist our
host country when they most needed us.
- On the Ground in Kenya, Part 1
- International Operations
- International news stories