FBI arrests, charges Iraqi national in plot to assassinate former President Bush

An Iraqi national living in Ohio was arrested and charged Tuesday with attempting to smuggle terrorists across the southern border in order to assassinate former President George W. Bush, Fox News reported.

That man was identified as 52-year-old Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, and the ostensible goal of his assassination plot was to exact retaliation for the Iraqi deaths that occurred as a result of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” that began in 2003 during Bush’s presidency.

He had first entered the U.S. in September 2020 on a visitor visa but had filed an application for asylum in March 2021 and was still in the country while that claim was pending.

The charges

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Shihab was arrested Tuesday morning and faced a judge later in the day where an indictment against him was unsealed that contained two federal felony criminal counts.

The first charge was for attempting to illegally bring another person into the U.S., for which he could face up to 10 years in prison, while the second charge was for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former government official, for which he could face up to 20 years in prison.

The 21-page indictment laid out in more detail the allegations against Shihab and documented his interactions with two separate confidential sources working with the FBI.

The first part of the plot involved arrangements made to facilitate the illegal entry of what turned out to be a fictitious character created by the FBI but was believed to be real by Shihab and who would be a sort of “test run” of a plan to smuggle individuals into the U.S. through the border with Mexico.

Once Shihab believed that the first smuggling attempt of a single individual had been successful, he began to plan to smuggle even more Iraqi nationals with ties to the Islamic State group and the former regime of Saddam Hussein who would carry out the assassination plot against the former U.S. president.

In furtherance of that plot, Shihab worked with both confidential sources to arrange documents and routes for the illegal border crossing. He also personally conducted surveillance of Bush’s residence and office in Texas and made arrangements to obtain firearms and U.S. Border Patrol uniforms.

Exploiting the border

Breitbart reported that, according to an unsealed search warrant application for Shihab, he had hoped to make use of the porous southern border to not only illegally smuggle in the would-be assassins but to also smuggle them back out of the U.S. once the operation was complete.

He was also alleged to have been on the lookout for an opportunity to kill a former Iraqi general who had worked with U.S. forces during the war and was believed to be living secretly in America. Shihab had also allegedly bragged about previously smuggling Hezbollah-linked terrorists across the southern border as well as working with Iraqi “resistance” groups to help murder Americans during the war.

“The U.S. Secret Service takes all threats to our protectees seriously,” a Secret Service spokesperson told Fox News of the alleged plot to kill Bush. “In order to maintain operational security, the Secret Service does not discuss the means and methods used to conduct our protective operations or matters of protective intelligence.”

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