Ohio man charged with plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — An Ohio man was charged with aiding and abetting a plot to kill former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, an Iraqi citizen who lived in Columbus, was arrested early Tuesday by the FBI.

Shihab allegedly exchanged money with an undercover informant working for the FBI in an attempt to bring foreign individuals into the U.S. in order to carry out the assassination. He even traveled to Dallas in February 2022 to carry out surveillance of places regularly visited by the former president, the DOJ said.

He appeared in federal court in Ohio earlier on Tuesday, according to the Justice Department.

Shihab, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday, said that he wanted to use an FBI confidential source’s service to “illegally” bring ISIS individuals to the US with the intention to murder Bush.

“Shihab told [Confidential Source 1] that the four Iraqi nationals Shihab wanted to smuggle into the United States are planning to kill former president George W. Bush,” the complaint said. “Shihab advised CS1 that former president Bush had a house and farm in Texas. Shihab twice inquired if CS1 knew what type and amount of security there was protecting former president Bush, as Shihab believed CS1 had connections in the Dallas area. Shihab asked if CS1 thought that four to six individuals were enough to kill former president Bush. CS1 stated that he/she did not know but believed former president Bush would have security.”

He repeatedly made claims to a separate confidential source that he’d be able to get a fake passport and be able to smuggle that source’s brother through the U.S.-Mexico border. He said an upfront payment between $10,000 and $40,000 was to be made in order to smuggle people in.

The U.S. Secret Service said it was prepared to handle any threat to the president.

“The U.S. Secret Service takes all threats to our protectees seriously,” it said in a statement to ABC News. “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.”

“President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” said Freddy Ford, a spokesman for Bush.

ABC News’ Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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