Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Retention of Dhs/Tsa Kevin Jones in Kenya

VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #3879/01 2500534
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070534Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RHEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4122
INFO RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 4822
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1536
RULSDMK/DOT WASHDC
RUEANHA/FAA WASHDC
RUEWMFU/TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS NAIROBI 003879

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

FOR DHS/TSA ASSISTANT SECRETARY HAWLEY FROM AMBASSADOR RANNEBERGER

STATE FOR AF, S/CT, AND EB
DOT FOR OST/CHUNTER

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR PTER PGOV KE
SUBJECT: Retention of DHS/TSA Kevin Jones in Kenya

Sensitive-but-unclassified. Not for release outside USG channels.

1. (SBU) I understand that TSA's Office of International
Transportation Security Networking recently turned down a request
from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Embassy Nairobi for
TSA to rehire Kevin Jones as a retired annuitant. The decision, as

SIPDIS
we understand it, would have Mr. Jones replaced within weeks by a
series of rotating temporary duty (TDY) personnel. I am writing to
ask that you reconsider this decision and agree to allow Mr. Jones
to continue working in Nairobi as the East Africa Civil Aviation
Security Advisor, a position fully funded by DOT through the Safe
Skies for Africa program, until his contract expires in April 2007,
after which we would request a permanently assigned replacement.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Terrorism Threat is Active
--------------------------

2. (SBU) Fighting the global war on terror is the number one goal of
the United States Government in Kenya, and improving Kenya's
capacity to provide aviation safety and security through DOT's Safe
Skies for Africa Program (SSFA) is an integral part of our
counter-terrorism (CT) strategy. The 1998 and 2002 bombings of the
Embassy and the Paradise Hotel demonstrate that lives are at stake.
In 2003, the Embassy announced authorized departure for staff and
families in response to a credible plot to attack the Embassy with
an aircraft. The perpetrators of all three crimes are still at
large.

3. (SBU) Kevin Jones was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in April 2004
as the East Africa Civil Aviation Security Advisor (EAASA) until
April 2007. He has painstakingly developed a trusting and
productive relationship with the Kenyan aviation community that will
be very difficult to replace and cannot be maintained through
rotating TDY assignments to the position. The relationships built
during Kevin Jones' tenure start with the pilot community and
progress through the Office of the President. He is a member of the
Kenya National Civil Aviation Security Committee, advocating our
positions at this body's regular meetings. Mr. Jones is the point
person in our efforts to build up the capacity of the Kenya Civil
Aviation Authority, the Kenya Airports Authority, and other Kenyan
security agencies to counter terrorist attacks against aviation. He
performs this function not only in Kenya, but also in Tanzania and
Uganda, two other countries in the East Africa region facing
terrorist threats. His efforts to enhance institutional capacity in
all three countries have been impressive, but are still incomplete.

4. (SBU) DHS/TSA and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation
have provided aviation security technical assistance, equipment,
training, and consultation services through workshops for
approximately 250 Kenyan aviation safety and security personnel
through the SSFA Program. Mr. Jones is the person on the ground who
continues to ensure this assistance is effective. Key officials in
the region, which is under constant terrorist threat, trust and
count on his sober counsel in aviation security matters.

5. (SBU) Pulling Kevin Jones out of Kenya abruptly and replacing him
with a series of TDY personnel would risk unravelling the groundwork
he has laid. Experience here makes painfully clear that success in
capacity-building requires trust and personal relationships - and
these require continuity of personnel. All concerned members of my
Country Team believe that a TDY approach simply won't work in this
situation. Although Mr. Jones will retire from TSA effective
September 30, 2006, Embassy Nairobi urges that TSA allow him to
continue serving in Nairobi as a rehired annuitant through April
2007, and assign another TSA officer to replace him before he
departs.

6. (SBU) I understand that Mr. Jones's position has not been counted
on the TSA rolls for the past year and his continuation will have no
effect on TSA staffing. TSA is not financially responsible for the
position, as all funding support, including salary, is provided by
DOT's SSFA program. Mr. Jones' status in the Mission would remain
unchanged after his retirement. The same would be true for his
replacement.

7. (SBU) I look forward to continuing to work closely with DHS. The
TSA position is one of the most important DHS positions in this

SIPDIS
Mission. I also want you to know I am prepared to be as flexible as
possible in approving several new positions that DHS/ICE and DHS/CBP
are requesting for Embassy Nairobi. I ask that you revisit the
decision by TSA's Office of International Transportation Security
Networking with respect to Mr. Jones on a priority basis. If you
need any additional information from this Embassy on this issue,
please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing
from you soon.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.