Obama's trip to Kenya may be his most dangerous visit

Why Obama's Kenya Visit May Be His Most Dangerous Yet
Why Obama's Kenya Visit May Be His Most Dangerous Yet


President Obama is scheduled to land in his ancestral homeland of Kenya on Friday, and the landmark visit has the Secret Service working harder than usual.

The State Department has warned that terrorist groups might try to take advantage of the president's visit, including the infamous Al-Shabab, the group which claimed responsibility for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall that left 67 dead in 2013.

Concerns of those threats are only compounded by a major security breach that came from Kenyan officials earlier this week -- who leaked the president's travel itinerary, including his airport arrival and departure times. Such information typically remains tightly guarded in order to thwart potential attacks on Air Force One.

The developments have security analysts dubbing this trip one of the most dangerous the president has taken.

"The main active terror group in the area, Al-Shabab, is known to have surface to air missiles," Fox News' Paul Tilsley said.

SEE: Kenya prepares for Obama's visit


"Kenya's just not the safest place in the world right now," Robert Baer, former CIA operative, told CNN.
"The people that want to hurt the president have been planning for the last seven years for this trip," Jonathan Wackrow, former Secret Service agent, told CNN.

The main threat may not be to the president -- who will be closely watched by the Secret Service -- but instead to the rest of the country.

Many experts fear Al-Shabab or other terrorist groups will attack soft targets, like hospitals and schools, during Obama's visit. U.S. air strike reportedly killed several Al-Shabab leaders earlier this month.

The Kenyan government has tried to downplay the group's influence, both symbolically, by reopening the Westgate mall, and militarily in its own attacks on the group. The losses likely mean the group is looking for an easy win, and an attack on a civilian target while the U.S. president is visiting would fit the bill.

Security will be one of Obama's main agenda items when he meets with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta. The U.S. has been supplying the Kenyan military in the fight against Al-Shabab.