Iraqi Immigrant Pleads Guilty in Plot to Assassinate Former US President

( – On February 12, 53-year-old Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, an Iraqi citizen living in Ohio, was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for his part in a terrorist plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker says that Shihab was proud to take part in the assassination plot because he held former Bush personally responsible for the death of many Iraqis and he believed the former president was responsible for the destruction of Iraq. Shihab pleaded guilty in March of 2023.

In Court documents that were released by an Ohio United States District Court indicate that Shihab entered the U.S. in September of 2020 under a visitor’s visa, and filed an asylum claim in March of 2021. He had been working at markets and restaurants in Ohio in the interim. Parker says that Shihab also spent much of that time trying to provide support for terrorists. His asylum claim was still under review when he was arrested in May of 2022 by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

He had planned to smuggle up to seven Iraqi assassins across the U.S.-Mexican border as part of the plan to murder former president Bush. However, during his plotting he was inadvertently talking to an unnamed FBI informant. A recorded conversation reveals Shihab saying that he would like to be directly involved in the attack on Bush and would be proud to give his life towards the effort. In 2021, he actually believed he had successfully smuggled a member of ISIS into the U.S., but the entire operation was concocted by the FBI, and the person was fictional.

In 2022, Shihab travelled to the former president’s home in Texas where he took surveillance footage. The FBI informant posing as a co-conspirator talked him out of passing the video to other terrorists by suggesting it might be intercepted by American operatives. It is likely that Shihab will be deported after he completes his prison sentence. Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff says the former president was never worried despite how close Shihab seemingly got to him, as Bush has complete confidence in the Secret Service, in U.S. law enforcement and in the American intelligence communities.

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