May 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

FBI foiled ISIS plot to kill George W. Bush, DOJ says

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

An Iraqi man in the U.S. with alleged links to ISIS has been taken into custody after he plotted to assassinate former President George W. Bush, said the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Ohio on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, an Iraqi citizen living in Columbus, Ohio, allegedly looked to smuggle four people from Iraq into the U.S. via the Mexican border to kill Bush.

  • Shihab was charged in federal court with an immigration crime and aiding and abetting a plot to murder Bush.
  • He appeared in federal court Tuesday and his case was unsealed at the time.

Details: The FBI said it uncovered the plot by working with two confidential informants and reviewing the alleged plotter's WhatsApp messages, per Forbes, which first reported the news.

  • The suspect allegedly traveled to Dallas in November so he could capture video footage of Bush's home and recruit conspirators from over the border, Forbes reports.
  • The DOJ said Shihab met with conspirators in a Columbus, Ohio, hotel room where they looked "at sample firearms and law enforcement uniforms."
  • The suspect and his conspirators “wished to kill former President Bush because they felt that he was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq," FBI special agent John Ypsilantis told Bloomberg.

What they're saying: “President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the U.S. Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” Bush's chief of staff, Freddy Ford, said in a statement, per The Guardian.

  • Bush's team did not immediately return Axios' request for comment.

What's next: An attempt to illegally bring someone into the U.S. is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the DOJ said.

  • The suspect faces a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years in prison for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former U.S. official.
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