SpyCast 9.5.23
Ep 601 | 9.5.23

“Kenya, East Africa, and America” – with African Intelligence Chief Wilson Boinett

Show Notes


Brigadier General (Ret.) Wilson Boinett joins Andrew (TwitterLinkedIn) to discuss Kenyan intelligence. Wilson is the former Director of Kenya’s National Intelligence Service. 

What You’ll Learn


  • The effect of colonialism on intelligence
  • The organization of Kenya’s National Intelligence Service
  • Wilson’s role in adapting and reforming Kenyan intelligence 
  • The Nairobi bombings and effects on East Africa


  • Institutional insurgency
  • The courage to push for and enact change

And much, much more …

Episode Notes

This week on SpyCast, we are thrilled to be joined by our first ever African intelligence chief. Brigadier General (Ret.) Wilson Boinett is the individual credited with transforming Kenya’s National Intelligence Service into the world-class agency it is today. Following a decades long career in the Kenyan Army, Wilson became the first Director of the newly created intelligence agency in 1999. He believed in the possibly of change and the potential for collaboration amongst East African countries and set out to do just that. Tune in to this week’s episode to learn more about his extraordinary career and lessons in leadership. 

This episode is the second in our Spy Chiefs Special series that will run throughout September. Stay tuned in the weeks to come to hear perspectives from Ireland, India, and the first woman to direct an American intelligence organization. 


Wilson is a member of the National Defense University International Fellows Hall of Fame, Class of 1991. This prestigious award honors NDU alumni who have achieved the highest ranks of armed forces or government and made a great impact on their country’s national security. It’s safe to say Wilson has more than earned his spot! And, he is in good company – one of our recent SpyCast alumni, Admiral Hernando Wills, Class of 2008. 

Quotes of the Week

I was coming in at the time when all those things were happening and the Cold War was over, and the western intelligence did not care very much what Kenya was going to do. So, I had an opportunity to look at this monster called change …. I went to the president, and I said, “I think it is time to change.” And he said, “Go change it.”  




*Beginner Resources*



  • History of Resistance in Kenya, M. wa Kĩnyattĩ (Mau Mau Research Center, 2019)
  • Kenya After 50: Reconfiguring Historical, Political, and Policy Milestones, M. M. Kithinji et al. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) 
  • Population, Tradition, and Environmental Control in Colonial Kenya, M. S. Shanguhyia (University of Rochester Press, 2015)
  • Kenya: A History Since Independence, C. Hornsby (I.B. Tauris, 2013)



Primary Sources 

*Wildcard Resource*