ABC6 reports that a man has just pled guilty to plotting to assassinate former President George W. Bush.
The man who entered the guilty plea in federal court on Wednesday is Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab.
The 52-year-old Shihab is an Iraqi man who came to the United States in September 2020 on a visitor visa. Six months after his arrival, in March 2021, he filed an asylum claim looking to obtain United States citizenship.
Shihab, at the time of his arrest last year, had been living in an apartment in the Northland area of Columbus, Ohio. He also lived in Indianapolis. He worked at restaurants and at markets in both cities.
According to the prosecution, Shihab attempted to illegally smuggle Iraqi foreign nationals into the United States by way of the U.S.-Mexico border. The point of this was to have the Iraqi national carry out the assassination plot on Bush.
Shihab, in fact, accepted $40,000 from an individual in order to set up a smuggling scheme. Shihab, at the time, did not know that the individual, who had been introduced by a mutual friend, was a government source. This was one of two government sources with whom Shihab met in relation to the smuggling scheme.
ABC6 separately reports:
A source represented themself as someone who has connections to smuggling organizations. The other source sought Shihab for smuggling undocumented immigrants which Shihab then allegedly planned to use the first source to accomplish. The sources reportedly did not know each other. Both sources were provided money by the U.S. government for their help.
In February 2022, according to the prosecution, Shihab traveled to Dallas, Texas, which is where Bush’s residence is located. There, Shihab conducted surveillance of the gate that leads to the residence.
Then, in March 2022, Shihab met with an individual – another government source – in a hotel room in Columbus, where he looked at various firearms and a U.S. Border Patrol uniform with a gun belt.
The arrest, charge, and guilty plea
Federal government agents Force arrested Shihab in May 2022. He was charged with aiding and abetting a plot to murder Bush.
According to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Shihab admitted to his plan of wanting to use Iraqi foreign nationals – particularly foreign nationals associated with ISIS – to carry out an assassination of Bush.
Shihab, according to the task force, also admitted that his motivation for wanting to assassinate Bush is retaliation for the Iraqi deaths that occurred during “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Federal prosecutors offered Shihab a plea deal in December 2022. Shihab accepted the deal, and on Wednesday he officially entered his plea in federal court.
Next up is sentencing. A date has yet to be set.