An Iraqi man based in Ohio is accused of being linked to a plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush, going as far as traveling to Dallas “to conduct surveillance of locations associated with the former President,” and recruiting a team of four compatriots he allegedly hoped to smuggle into the U.S., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
The suspect, Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, said he wanted to assassinate Bush because he felt the former president was responsible for Iraqi deaths after the 2003 U.S. invasion, according to federal authorities. Shihab was arrested by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Tuesday.
Shihab originally entered the United States in September 2020 on a visitor visa, and in March 2021, he filed a claim for asylum with United States citizenship, which is pending review, according to the Department of Justice.
“President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” Bush’s chief of staff Freddy Ford told media outlets.
Texas Republicans quickly reacted to the news of the plot with calls to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Stunning,” Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted. “This bombshell report puts it in the absolute starkest terms the necessity to secure the border NOW.”
Attempting to illegally bring someone into the U.S. is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former U.S. official carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Read more from Forbes here.
The news comes after Bush made headlines last week for a gaffe during a speech at his presidential center in which he referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq – I mean of Ukraine,” Bush said during the May 18 event. Then, Bush shrugged and muttered, “Iraq too.”