- When was the NSIS created?
- What does the NSIS do?
- What constitutes a threat to the security of Kenya?
- Is the NSIS a branch of the Kenya Police Force?
- What is the difference between the NSIS and the CID?
- Which security arm of the government carried out the functions of security intelligence before the NSIS was formed?
- Does the NSIS conduct investigations in Government departments and private institutions?
- Why does the government need NSIS when there are the news media and other government agencies like the Ministry of Information, already providing useful information on many issues?
- How can one join the NSIS?
When was the NSIS created?
The NSIS was created by the enactment of the National Security Intelligence Act (1998) in January 1999.
What does the NSIS do?
The NSIS has a mandate to identify threats against the security of Kenya, collect and analyze intelligence on these threats, and advise the Government accordingly through appropriate intelligence reports.
What constitutes a threat to the security of Kenya:
Section 2 of the NSIS Act gives a comprehensive definition of what constitutes a threat against the security of Kenya.
Is the NSIS a branch of the Kenya Police Force?
No. The NSIS is an independent civilian Government agency dedicated to protecting the national security interests of Kenya and safeguarding its citizens. Some of the threats under NSIS investigation, e.g. terrorism, can have criminal implications. In such cases, the Kenya Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) would investigate and lay the appropriate criminal charges.
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What is the difference between the NSIS and the CID?
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is the Branch of the Kenya Police charged with the mandate of prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of serious crime in Kenya. This role differs from that of the NSIS, which is a civilian agency without any Police powers of search, arrest, and prosecution.
Which security arm of the government carried out the functions of security intelligence before the NSIS was formed?
Before January 1999 when the NSIS Act became operational, security intelligence was handled by the Directorate of Security Intelligence (DSI), a department of the Office of the President, which operated under a Presidential Charter of 1978 and the Police Act.
In the 1980's, the DSI had taken over the functions of the Kenya Police Special Branch. The latter was established under as a branch of the Kenya Police Form during British colonial rule.
Does the NSIS conduct investigations in Government departments and private institutions?
The NSIS is very sensitive to Human Rights issues and the individual freedoms guaranteed by the Kenya Constitution and other statutes. Individuals in Government or private society can only come under NSIS investigation if they become part of the threat to national security.
An example here is the case of some government employees and private citizens who facilitated the illegal acquisition of Kenyan IDs and residence for some of the terrorists who were involved in the 1998 bomb attack on the US Embassy in Nairobi that killed over 250 people.
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Why does the government need NSIS when there are the news media and other government agencies like the Ministry of Information, already providing useful information on many issues?
Security intelligence is information from both open sources and confidential NSIS sources. This information is specially processed and formulated to assist government decision-making.
The NSIS is mandated and has the capacity to provide new intelligence while adding value to what can be found in other government reports or in news stories.
How can one join the NSIS?
Careers within the NSIS are open to Kenya Citizens who are over 18 years old and meet the qualifications required. The wide range of NSIS activities makes it imperative that employees possess a variety of academic backgrounds and abilities.
To operate effectively, the NSIS needs expertise from various professional backgrounds including engineers, lawyers, scientists, communication technicians, and other specialists. When vacancies for employment occur, the Service advertises the posts available in the newspapers.
Those who posses the required qualifications and submit applications are subjected to a rigorous recruitment process that is aimed at employing the best people for the jobs available. Because of the sensitive nature of security intelligence work, all applicants undergo security vetting, which is carried out by the Service.
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