The FBI says an Iraqi national and ISIS sympathizer who applied for political asylum in the U.S. was organizing a plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush. The stunning allegation says the suspect even carried out video surveillance of Bush’s home in Dallas.
Shihab Ahmed Shihab, who resided in Columbus, Ohio, revealed to a confidential FBI source that he wanted to smuggle four fellow Iraqis into the country. He also allegedly asked the source for replica law enforcement or FBI badges for use in assassinating the former president.
The motive is allegedly revenge for deaths Shihab blames on the former president for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Forbes was the first to report the FBI’s breaking up of the plot.
The FBI says the suspect entered the U.S. on a visitor visa and later sought asylum. He attempted to enter a marriage for citizenship purposes, and the investigation initially sought evidence of immigration fraud.
Shihab claimed to be part of a group called Al-Raed — meaning thunder in Arabic. Two of the Iraqis he sought to smuggle into the country are said to be former operatives experienced in assassinations. The FBI adds he inquired on sneaking the assassins out of the country through Mexico.
As for himself, the suspect said he wanted to be personally involved and did not care if he survived.
Federal agents were able to use WhatsApp, a global instant messaging system owned by Meta, to track Shihab’s conversations. It helped when he began using a phone provided by an informant.
In a chilling detail revealed by the FBI, Shihab and an informant drove to Dallas in February. There they videotaped Bush’s home and the George W. Bush Institute. Then, it’s alleged in March he held a meeting in an Ohio hotel room to procure weapons and counterfeit law enforcement uniforms.
Shihab is charged with aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former U.S. official, along with attempting to smuggle someone into the country. Former President Bush’s office says he has “all the confidence in the world” in federal security.
If only the same could be said for the government’s immigration policies. The former president is fortunate and the FBI did a great job. But with massive waves of asylum seekers, it’s tough to depend on finding needles in haystacks forever.