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Former President George W. Bush: The Target of an Assassination Plot?

George W. Bush. Image Credit: White House.
Image of US President George W. Bush.

The FBI has arrested an Iraqi citizen for aiding and abetting a plot to assassinate former U.S. President George W. Bush. 

On Tuesday, May 24, FBI special agents assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted a raid in Columbus, Ohio, and arrested Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, a 52-year-old Iraqi citizen. 

He was plotting to assassinate President Bush at his ranch in Texas. 

Plotting to Assassinate President Bush 

Shihab first came to the U.S. in September 2020 on a visitor visa and lived in Columbus and Indianapolis.  

Half a year later, in March 2021, Shihab applied for asylum and U.S. citizenship, both of which were pending review at the time of the arrest. 

One of the charges brought against Shihab is that he exchanged money with other parties in an attempt to smuggle foreign nationals inside the U.S. illegally. 

“For example, in August 2021, Shihab allegedly intended to help who he thought was another Iraqi citizen enter the United States for a fee of $40,000. Shihab provided specific instructions on how he would smuggle the person into the United States after 60 days. In October and December 2021, Shihab accepted tens of thousands of dollars for the purported smuggling. In reality, the individual was fictitious, and the interaction was coordinated under the direction of the FBI,” the Justice Department said in a press release

Thus far, there is some evidence supporting the claim that Shihab was acting as a part of an Islamic State (ISIS) team

“The charging document also alleges that Shihab planned to smuggle four additional Iraqi foreign nationals into the United States for the purpose of killing former President George W. Bush in retaliation of Iraqi deaths during ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom.’ Shihab then allegedly planned to smuggle the four out of the United States via the United States/Mexico border after they carried out the assassination,” the Justice Department added. 

Reconnaissance and Weapons 

In addition to facilitating the smuggling of the foreign nationals who would purportedly conduct the assassination, Shihab conducted close target reconnaissance of places and venues where former President Bush might appear. 

Furthermore, Shihab sampled weapons and law enforcement uniforms that would supposedly be used to carry out the assassination attempt

“In furtherance of the assassination plot, Shihab allegedly traveled to Dallas in February 2022 to conduct surveillance of locations associated with the former President. In March 2022, it is alleged Shihab met with others in a hotel room in Columbus, Ohio, to look at sample firearms and law enforcement uniform,” the Justice Department stated.

The two charges facing Shihab – attempting to illegally bring an individual into the U.S. and aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former U.S. official – are both federal crimes with a combined punishment of up to 30 years in prison. 

Former U.S. presidents enjoy the protection of U.S. Secret Service agents even after their term in office ends.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.