Plot to assassinate George W. Bush in revenge for Iraq war has been foiled, FBI says

Former President George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush speaks during the funeral service for the Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in 2020.
(Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

A terrorist plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush in revenge for the Iraq war was uncovered earlier this year, the FBI said in an unsealed search warrant.

Shihab Ahmed Shihab, an Iraqi asylum seeker, described the plan to a paid FBI informant who also drove the suspect around Dallas to conduct surveillance on Bush’s home and offices in February, according to a March 23 search warrant unsealed last month in federal court in Columbus, Ohio.

The plotters “wished to kill former President Bush because they felt that he was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq,” FBI Special Agent John Ypsilantis, a member of Joint Terrorism Task Force in Cincinnati, said in the filing.


The warrant, first reported on Tuesday by Forbes, has been resealed. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Cincinnati declined to comment. Freddy Ford, a spokesman for Bush, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Citing operational security, Secret Service spokesperson Steve Kopek declined to comment on the matter except to say the “U.S. Secret Service takes all threats to our protectees seriously.”

Four Iraqi nationals, two of whom are former intelligence agents, were to be smuggled into the U.S. from Turkey, Egypt and Denmark as part of the plot, the FBI agent said. The plan involved getting the plotters into Mexico and then crossing the border into Texas, Ypsilantis said.

Though Shihab was not himself a member of the Islamic State militant group, the warrant described the smuggling plot as an “attempt to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, specifically ISIS.”

A Columbus resident, Shihab asked the informant for details about security operations at Bush’s home in Dallas and at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, the FBI agent said. In February, the informant picked up Shihab at the airport in Dallas and assisted him as he used his phone to record video of Bush’s gated home as well as the library and offices at the George W. Bush Institute, according to the filing.

Shihab allegedly told the informant “that he wanted to be involved in the actual attack and assassination” and that he “did not care if he died as he would be proud to have been involved.” according to the search warrant.


He also inquired about how to obtain fake FBI or police badges, the FBI said.

The informant has been supplying information in exchange for money for over 10 years and recorded many of his conversations with Shihab, according to the filing.

Bush last week reignited controversy over the war when he inadvertently transposed “Iraq” for “Ukraine” while criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching a “wholly unjustified and brutal invasion.”