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News | Aug. 8, 2019

This Week in DIA History: DIA and the Nairobi Bombing

By By DIA Public Affairs Defense Intelligence Agency

On Aug. 7, 1998, the weekly country team meeting on the top floor of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was disrupted by an explosion. Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Teske, serving as the operations coordinator for the defense attache office and the acting defense attache, made his way to the DAO office. By the time Teske reached the DAO, Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hobson, the operations noncommissioned officer, along with 11 other Americans in the embassy were killed. Teske soon moved from the devastated U.S. embassy to the U.S. Agency for International Development building to assist with reconstituting the embassy and contacted DIA's Director Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes.

DIA's country officer on station immediately established a crisis action team, including members of DIA's internal counterintelligence and security activity. Several special agents were on their way to Nairobi at 1700 that same night after coordination with the State Department and the FBI.

The DIA Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Intelligence Rear Adm. Tom Wilson quickly stood up a round-the-clock terrorism-working group within the terrorism warning division at the Pentagon. Several analysts and managers from the terrorism analysis division at DIA immediately shifted to the Pentagon to provide a full-service integrated effort. The working group focused on three primary issues: identifying the perpetrators, monitoring indications and warning of follow-on attacks and supporting operational planners.

DIA was confident al-Qaida was responsible and provided all-source target write-ups on terrorist facilities to the J2 deputy director for targeting and other JCS operational planners. On Aug. 20, 1998, U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea launched attacks against terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan.