The sports category has moved to a new website.

How 1998 Nairobi blast made bomb expert quit Al-Qaeda and become a spy

Aimen Dean's journey from terrorist to spy began with the 1998 Al-Qaeda attacks on two US embassies in East Africa; Nairobi and Arusha

A collage of Aimen Dean and the bomb site of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi

Aimen Dean, a Saudi national who went to Bosnia to fight for Al-Qaeda at the age of 16, was an expert in weapons of mass destruction as well as the terror group's complicated hierarchy.

However, the 1998 attacks rattled him, and after long soul-searching, he secretly defected to the British government and began working as a spy.

I think that is when the horror of it started to sink in. And this is when I realised that if this is the opening salvo of this war, where is the next target? Argentina, South Africa, Mozambique? Are we going to fight Americans in Africa in order to expel them from the Middle East, from the Arabian peninsula? It just didn't make sense,” he said in a past interview with BBC.

Dean's story has been told in various media, including the book "Nine Lives: My Time as the West's Top Spy Inside Al Qaeda," which he co-authored with Tim Lister and Paul Cruikshank.

In the book, Dean wrote about meeting both Osama Bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, on multiple occasions.

After the turning point, he no longer wanted to be part of the group and used a planned health check-up as a pretext for travelling to Qatar.

He was arrested but British intelligence authorities came to the conclusion that he would be an asset after he confessed.

Dean's work as a spy involved feeding Al-Qaeda's secrets to Western intelligence agencies.

He was involved in the thwarting of a number of terror attacks, and his unique intelligence insights into the inner workings of Al-Qaeda have been praised.

He traveled regularly between London and Afghanistan, having to memorize all the information he gathered behind enemy lines and relay it to intelligence authorities.

However, his career as a spy came to a dramatic end when someone spilled his secret.

Dean was in Paris on vacation when one of his Al-Qaeda comrades sent him a text with a link to a story by journalist Ron Suskind, warning, "Brother, go into hiding. There is a spy among us".

The text didn't accuse Dean of being the spy, but he believed it was only a matter of time before he was outed.

Dean's story has been the subject of various podcasts, videos, and news articles. His journey from terrorist to spy is a testament to the power of redemption and the human capacity for change.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

Maandamano Tuesday: 4 reasons Kenyans are taking to the streets in protests

Maandamano Tuesday: 4 reasons Kenyans are taking to the streets in protests

Notable cases handled by DCI Mohamed Amin in 35-year law enforcement career

Notable cases handled by DCI Mohamed Amin in 35-year law enforcement career

Kware bodies: 19 items DCI found in the house of prime suspect

Kware bodies: 19 items DCI found in the house of prime suspect

Gov't increases road maitenence levy despite drop in fuel prices for July-August

Gov't increases road maitenence levy despite drop in fuel prices for July-August

Volunteer retrieving bodies in Kware impresses Kenyans as Sakaja promises reward

Volunteer retrieving bodies in Kware impresses Kenyans as Sakaja promises reward

1 person shot, chaos erupt in Mukuru kwa Njenga as residents recover more bodies [Video]

1 person shot, chaos erupt in Mukuru kwa Njenga as residents recover more bodies [Video]

Safaricom postpones system maintenance & service interruptions planned for Sunday

Safaricom postpones system maintenance & service interruptions planned for Sunday

DCI reveals new details on mutilated bodies recovered in Mukuru kwa Njenga

DCI reveals new details on mutilated bodies recovered in Mukuru kwa Njenga

Bishop bars politicians from speaking at Ruto's event amid pressure from gen Z

Bishop bars politicians from speaking at Ruto's event amid pressure from gen Z