COLUMBUS, OH – A 52-year-old Iraqi citizen with purported ISIS ties who was residing in Ohio under a visitor visa and later applied for asylum was charged for an alleged assassination plot aimed at former President George W. Bush, as well as immigration offenses meant to exploit vulnerabilities along the southern border.
Both the Justice Department and ABC News described Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab as a “Ohio man” in their respective headlines regarding his federal charges, but in actuality, Shihab was anything but an Ohio man.
Shihab was arrested by agents from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on May 24th under charges of attempting to unlawfully introduce foreign nationals into the United States, as well as aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former United States official.
The Iraqi citizen had first come to the United States in September of 2020 under a visitor visa, later filing a claim for asylum in March of 2021 which was still pending at the time of the alleged plot.
Authorities allege that in August if 2021, Shihab believed he was in communication with another Iraqi citizen whom he offered to help unlawfully enter the United States in exchange for a fee of $40,000. In reality, Shihab was communicating with the FBI during this initial exchange.
During this period of communication, Shihab allegedly delivered explicit instructions on how he would smuggle the person into the country following a period of 60 days. In the months of October and December of 2021, Shihab reportedly accepted tens of thousands of dollars from this fictitious person operating under the FBI’s coordination.
Officials claim that Shihab also planned on smuggling four other Iraqi citizens into the country for the explicit purpose of assassinating former President Bush. The alleged motive for this planned killing was in retaliation for Iraqi deaths that occurred during “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Shihab was planning on exploiting the vulnerabilities along the U.S./Mexico border to enable this purported scheme, according to authorities.
In February of 2022, officials claim Shihab travelled Dallas in order “to conduct surveillance of locations associated with the former President.”
Per the unsealed criminal complaint, “Shihab advised [Confidential Source 1] 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.”
One month later, Shihab allegedly met with a group of people at a hotel room in Columbus, Ohio, to scope out guns and phony Border Patrol uniforms, ostensibly to assist with the smuggling of the Iraqi nationals.
If convicted of the immigration and assassination plot offenses, Shahib could face up to 30 years in federal prison.