WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House does not plan to change President Barack Obama’s itinerary for his trip to Kenya later this week despite disclosure of the presidential plane’s Nairobi arrival and departure times.
Kenya Airways sent a notice through its public relations agency on Tuesday giving the 40- to 50-minute windows for Air Force One’s landing in Nairobi on Friday and departure on Sunday, information considered not for public disclosure for security reasons.
White House national security adviser Susan Rice told reporters on Wednesday that the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the president, was aware of the breach.
“But I don’t think it in any way is disturbing our plans,” she said.
A Kenya Airways representative denied the airline leaked sensitive information and said it was standard procedure to give notice when Kenyan airspace would be closed, such as during Air Force One’s landing and takeoff.
Obama’s trip to Kenya raises particular security concerns for the Secret Service. The East African country has been the target of a series of attacks in recent years attributed to the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group, which is based in neighboring Somalia.
In 2002, Kenyan authorities said al Qaeda operatives fired shoulder-launched missiles at a Boeing 757 airliner as it took off from Moi International airport outside the port of Mombasa headed for Tel Aviv. It was not hit.
Obama’s Africa trip will also include a stop in Ethiopia. He returns to the United States late ON Tuesday.
Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney