The FBI has uncovered a plot by an Islamic State operative to kill former US President George W. Bush, according to a report released Tuesday.
US authorities tracked the suspected ISIS member via WhatsApp, and he was believed to be based in Columbus, Ohio.
His plot to kill Bush was hatched because he accused the former president of killing Iraqis and “breaking the country apart after the 2003 US military invasion”, Forbes.com reported.
He entered the United States in 2020 and was seeking asylum.
But undercover FBI agents contacted the conspiracy organizer and eventually delivered a phone that was tracked. “As part of its surveillance of suspected conspirators, the FBI recently received approval to acquire mobile location information from AT&T,” Forbes reported. “He had previously used what is called a ‘pen log’ on the WhatsApp account believed to belong to the prime suspect, helping them determine how often the account was used, the phone numbers he contacted and whether he was active or not.”
Al Arabiya English has contacted the US Department of Justice for comment.
Throughout the operation, the FBI learned that the alleged ISIS operative was a member of the Baath and ISIS chat groups on WhatsApp Messenger. “In another conversation with an informant, the suspect claimed to have “had recent communications with a friend in Qatar who was a former minister in Iraq under Saddam Hussein who had access to large amounts of money and was messaging him on WhatsApp, the FBI mentioned.”
Last November, the agent traveled to Dallas, Texas to record footage around Bush’s home. He also attempted to recruit other extremists via smuggling routes across the Mexican border.
Forbes quoted George W. Bush’s office chief of staff as saying the former president “has the fullest confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and in our law enforcement and intelligence communities.” .
Additionally, in the report, the ISIS operative had another target: a former Iraqi general who he said lives in the United States under an alias.
A former Saddam Hussein Iraqi pilot, based in Qatar until his recent death, was the leader of the group plotting to assassinate Bush, Forbes reported.
The suspect also said he helped smuggle two individuals associated with Iran-backed Hezbollah into the United States. Forbes said it charged each Hezbollah agent $50,000, citing an FBI report.
“Furthermore, in the FBI court filing, the alleged plotter claimed to be a member of the ‘resistance’ and killed numerous Americans in Iraq between 2003 and 2006, filling vehicles with explosives and detonating them when American soldiers were close,” Forbes reported. .
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