FBI uncovers ISIS plot to assassinate former US president Bush - report

Details of an FBI investigation into an Iraqi revenge plot against George W. Bush were revealed on Tuesday.

 US President George W. Bush speaks to US troops from Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad December 14, 2008 (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)
US President George W. Bush speaks to US troops from Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad December 14, 2008
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

The FBI uncovered a plot by an ISIS-linked suspect to assassinate former US president George W. Bush, Forbes revealed on Tuesday.

Revenge for Iraq War

The Ohio-based suspect reportedly said during interrogation that he sought to kill Bush because he sees the 43rd president of the United States as responsible for the killing of Iraqis in the Iraq War, the invasion of the Middle Eastern country by US forces in 2003 in order to overthrow Saddam Hussein as part of Bush's 'War on Terror' following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The suspect even went as far as to travel to Dallas, Texas in November to take videos of the former president's home, Forbes further reported. The assassination plan also included recruiting a team of Mexicans smuggled through the US' southern border.

According to the report, the man claimed to have killed "many Americans" as part of the "Iraqi resistance" between 2003 and 2006, even claiming he had filled vehicles with explosives, waiting for American soldiers to pass by for the detonation.

Forbes cited an FBI search warrant application which was filed on March 23 and obtained after it was unsealed this week by the Ohio Southern District Court.

Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a patrol in the town of Dalli Abbas in Diyala province, June 30, 2014 (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a patrol in the town of Dalli Abbas in Diyala province, June 30, 2014 (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

WhatsApp spies

As per the report, the FBI said the scheme was foiled through surveillance and the work of two confidential informants privy to the suspect's WhatsApp account

The two used separate sources to surveil and follow the plotter's every move. One confidential informant reached out to the suspect and offered his service of obtaining false immigration and identification documents.

The other pretended to be a customer of an alleged people smuggler who offered a significant sum of money for the suspect to smuggle his family into the US from Mexico.

The suspect, who had lived in the US since 2020, had applied for asylum in America as a refugee and his application was pending at the time of his detention, the search warrant obtained by Forbes shows.

Chargers have not yet been filed against the suspect and it is unclear if he has been arrested, which is why his name cannot be published, as of March 24.

The surveillance done via WhatsApp and mobile information from AT&T has proven vital in the FBI's ability to gain intelligence on the man's plot to assassinate a former president.

Through the surveillance, the FBI found that the suspect was a member of chat groups associated with ISIS and the socialist Ba'ath Party, a now-defunct political group with branches across the Middle East, most notably in Iraq and Syria. In addition, the suspect claimed in a conversation with one of the informants that he was in contact with a former Iraqi minister in Qatar who served under Saddam Hussein and had "access to large quantities of money."

Surveillance also revealed details of a conversation from December in which the suspect claims to have smuggled two Hezbollah terrorists into the US for a total fee of $100,000.

"President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities."

Freddy Ford, chief of staff for the Office of George W. Bush, in a statement to Forbes