FBI Uncovers Daesh Cell Plan to Kill George Bush After Getting Into US Through Southern Border

© AP Photo / Gerald HerbertFormer President George W. Bush leaves St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston after the funeral service for his father
Former President George W. Bush leaves St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston after the funeral service for his father - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.05.2022
The suspect reportedly planned to assassinate Bush because he believed the former president was responsible for the deaths of many Iraqis and the disintegration of the country following the 2003 US military invasion.
An Iraqi man in the United States suspected of being linked to Daesh* operatives plotted to kill former President George W. Bush, even traveling to Dallas, Texas, in November last year to take a video of the area around the former president's home and recruit a team of compatriots he hoped to smuggle into the country over the Mexican border, Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.
The alleged perpetrator is named Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, of Columbus, Ohio. According to the press release, Shihab is an Iraqi national who had been in the US since 2020 and had an asylum case pending.
"It is alleged that Shihab exchanged money with others in an attempt to illegally bring foreign nationals to the United States," the DoJ statement said.
To investigate the plot, federal agents used two different confidential sources: one who claimed to be able to help people obtain false immigration and identification documents, and the other a purported customer of the alleged people smuggler who was willing to pay thousands of dollars to bring his family into the country.
According to the Forbes' report on the detention, the FBI filed a search warrant application on March 23 in the Southern District of Ohio. The FBI said it discovered the conspiracy thanks to the efforts of two confidential informants and surveillance of the alleged plotter's WhatsApp account, which is owned by *Meta.

Undercover Murder in Dallas

Shihab reportedly revealed the plot to assassinate Bush to an FBI insider in November 2021, and asked the confidential source if he knew how to "obtain replica or fraudulent police and/or FBI identifications and badges" to help carry out the killing, and if it was possible to smuggle the plotters out of the country the same way they came in once their mission was completed.
The alleged smuggler reportedly said that he planned to track down and execute a former Iraqi general who aided Americans during the war and whom he believed was living in the US under a false identity.
The warrant reportedly indicated that the suspected plotter claimed to be a member of a force known as "Al-Raed," or "Thunder," and was directed by a former Iraqi pilot for Saddam Hussein who was based in Qatar until his recent death.

Then, according to a text exchange cited by the outlet, up to seven members of the group would be sent to the United States to kill President Bush, and Shihab's job 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 FBI alleged that the suspect captured more footage at the George W. Bush Institute after driving to Dallas with the informant to take a video of Bush's mansion.
Bush, a Republican, was president from 2001 to 2009 and made headlines last week when he mistakenly denounced the US invasion of Iraq in a speech about the Russian special military operation in Ukraine.
Former President George W. Bush listens to speakers during the opening ceremony of the Walker Cup golf tournament, which starts tomorrow, at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., Friday, May 7, 2021. The tournament was founded by George Herbert Walker, the United States Golf Association president in 1920, who was the great-grandfather of Bush. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.05.2022
Watch Ex-POTUS George W. Bush Admit ‘Brutal & Wholly Unjustified’ Invasion of Iraq in Freudian Slip
Shihab allegedly told a confidential FBI source that he planned to bring four Iraqi national males from Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, and Denmark into the United States.
The FBI asserted that he later stated that one of the four was "the secretary of an ISIS financial minister." The men were reportedly identified as "former Baath Party members in Iraq who did not agree with the current Iraqi government and were political exiles" by the alleged smuggler. According to the FBI, he planned to charge each person $15,000 to be transported into the US. Hussein's Baath Party was toppled in the 2003 US invasion.
The smuggler's purported goal was to obtain Mexican visitor permits for the Daesh operatives by sending passport information to the informant over WhatsApp before crossing the border.
Meanwhile, he was corresponding with a person in Egypt using a phony Facebook* profile that reportedly had a profile photo of two different hands, each holding a rose, designed to look romantic and "not suspicious," the FBI claimed.

Searching Through Messaging App

The FBI acquired a warrant to search the Facebook account in 2021, but it is unknown what they found, according to Forbes.
Shihab allegedly appeared to believe his WhatsApp account was secure, but he could not have known that investigators had access to all of the messages sent to the classified sources.
Moreover, according to the report, he was also unaware that, beginning in October, he was using a phone that the informant had provided him at the FBI's request. The informant stated that the target was an avid WhatsApp user who was a member of the Baath and Daesh discussion groups.
The suspect supposedly claimed to have "been in recent communications with a friend in Qatar who was a former minister in Iraq under Saddam Hussein who had access to large quantities of money" and was contacting him over WhatsApp in another conversation with an informant, the FBI asserted.
The suspect was arrested earlier in the day by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and charged with illegal entry and aiding and abetting the assassination of a former US president.
The Department of Justice noted that attempting to smuggle someone into the country illegally is a federal offense punishable by up to ten years in prison. Aiding and abetting the attempted assassination of a former US official carries a potential jail sentence of up to 20 years.
According to the report, this case demonstrates how federal investigators continue to watch Daesh threats despite the fact that the group has been severely battered in recent years by intelligence and military operations. It also allegedly shows that despite the use of encryption by big providers and tech giants, the FBI has been able to circumvent WhatsApp security by employing old-school policing techniques such as sourcing informants and tracking the metadata available from the messaging service.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/“Islamic State”) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and a number of other nations.
* Meta is considered an extremist organization and is banned in Russia
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