The FBI uncovered a plot by an alleged ISIS operative to assassinate former President George W. Bush, according to the Department of Justice.
The suspect — Iraqi national Shihab Ahmed Shihab — was arrested by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents on Tuesday and appeared in federal court in Ohio at 2:30 p.m.
According to the charging documents, Shihab reportedly planned to smuggle four Iraqi foreign nationals into the United States for the purpose of killing the former president in an operation titled “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
The DOJ added that he allegedly planned to smuggle the four foreigners out of the United States via the U.S/Mexico border after they carried out the assassination. The purpose of the assassination plot was to kill the former president in “retaliation for Iraqi deaths.”
Shihab entered the United States on a visitor visa in September 2020 and later applied for asylum, the criminal complaint added.
The alleged plot was uncovered after the suspect revealed information about his plans and asked a confidential FBI source to “obtain replica or fraudulent police and/or FBI identifications and badges” that would be used in the assassination, the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint said.
The suspect asked a second FBI source if there was a way to smuggle the co-conspirators out of the U.S. once their operation was complete, according to a criminal complaint.
The alleged plot would have involved at least seven ISIS members. The criminal complaint said the suspect’s role was “to locate and conduct surveillance on former president Bush’s residences and/or offices and obtain firearms and vehicles to use in the assassination.”
The suspect, along with the FBI informant, also managed to record a video of the former president’s residence. The DOJ added that Shihab allegedly traveled to Dallas in February 2022 to “conduct surveillance of locations associated with the former President.”
He is looking at 10 years in prison for attempting to bring someone illegally into the US, and aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former US official carries a potential 20 year sentence, the statement added.
In a statement to The Hill, Bush’s chief of staff, Freddy Ford, neither confirmed nor denied the alleged plot and said that “President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities.”