According to an FBI search warrant application recently obtained by Forbes, an ISIS operative hiding in the United States had intricate assassination plans for former President Bush in Dallas, Texas, but they were thwarted by two confidential sources.
According to the statement, the ISIS detainee — who had been living in Columbus, Ohio since 2020 while awaiting approval for asylum — went so far as to go to Bush’s previous home in Dallas in Nov. 2021 to do surveillance and record video.
He planned to recruit up to seven other ISIS members to assist with the attack and planned to smuggle them into the United States via Mexico’s southern border using tourist visas.
According to Forbes, the relevant papers were filed by the FBI in March and released in the Southern District of Ohio on Monday.
As of Tuesday, the suspect had not been indicted and so his identity is being hidden. The investigation has yet to be announced by the Department of Justice.
The alleged scheme was discovered by the FBI as a result of intelligence received from two confidential sources with direct knowledge of the plan. One source pretended to be a human smuggler, while the other acted as a customer of the smuggler.
After the suspect began communicating on WhatsApp with one of the sources using a phone given to him by one informant, agents listened in on his conversations.
According to the sources and on his WhatsApp account, the purported plotter identified himself as a member of an ISIS-connected unit called “Al-Raed,” also known as “Thunder,” led by a now-dead former Iraqi pilot for Saddam Hussein who is based in Qatar.
As part of the unit’s objective, as many as seven others would be dispatched to the United States to carry out Bush’s assassination. The warrant said that one of the plotter’s tasks was “to locate and record Bush’s residences and/or offices in preparation for the assassination.”
The plotter allegedly said he wanted to murder Bush as revenge for killing many Iraqis and ripping apart the country after the 2003 United States military invasion.
In response to the plot, Bush’s chief of staff, Freddy Ford, stated that “President Bush has complete faith in the Secret Service and our police and intelligence communities.”
The “sophisticated counterterrorism” moves, according to Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, indicate that the United States considered the assassination plot to be sophisticated and deadly.