A plan by terrorists to kill former President George W. Bush in retaliation for the 2003 Iraq War was uncovered earlier this year, according to an FBI search-warrant application filed March 23 and unsealed this week in the Southern District of Ohio, Forbes reported on Tuesday.
Behind the plot was an Iraqi man, Shihab Ahmed Shihab, who was based in Columbus, Ohio, and accused of being connected to ISIS operatives. He traveled to Dallas in November to take video around Bush's home, as well as organizing a squad of fellow Iraqis he hoped to smuggle into the United States over the Mexican border in order to carry out the assassination.
The FBI said the plot was uncovered by two confidential informants, in addition to surveillance of Shihab's WhatsApp messaging platform.
Shihab entered the U.S. himself in 2020 and had an asylum application pending, according to the FBI's search-warrant application.
Last November, Shihab told one of the FBI insiders about his plans and asked him if he knew how to "obtain replica or fraudulent police and/or FBI identifications and badges" to help implement the plan, according to Forbes.
He also asked if it was possible to smuggle the plotters out of the U.S. in the same manner they entered after carrying out the assassination.
George Washington University's Program on Extremism deputy director Seamus Hughes told Forbes that "it's clear this was a sophisticated counterterrorism operation with a lot of moving parts. It was both far reaching and unique in its targeting."
He added that "we haven't seen a plot of this scale in a number of years. It shows that while domestic terrorism rightly takes a good amount of counterterrorism focus, the threats are not there alone."
Bush gave a response through Freddy Ford, chief of staff for the Office of George W. Bush, saying "President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities."
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