US Soldier Arrested After Allegedly Plotting To Attack 9/11 Memorial
An active duty US soldier has been arrested after allegedly plotting to attack the 9/11 Memorial in New York City with a supposed member of ISIS.
Cole James Bridges, a Private First Class soldier from Ohio, stationed at Fort Stewart, has been accused of planning an attack on both the city and fellow US troops in the Middle East.
The 20-year-old is facing federal terrorism charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation and attempting to murder US military service members, with a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
In a statement, Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Straus said: ‘As alleged, Cole Bridges betrayed the oath he swore to defend the United States by attempting to provide ISIS with tactical military advice to ambush and kill his fellow service members.’
She added: ‘Our troops risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own. Today, thanks to the efforts of the agents and detectives of the JTTF, and our partners in the Department of Defense, Bridges is in custody and facing federal terrorism charges for his alleged crimes.’
The criminal complaint accused Bridges of ‘researching and consuming online propaganda promoting jihadists and their violent ideology’ back in 2019. In October last year, he began communicating with someone he believed to be an ISIS supporter in contact with members in the Middle East – it was actually an FBI online covert employee.
In their exchanges, the soldier reportedly shared his ‘frustration with the US military and his desire to aid ISIS’, as well as providing ‘training and guidance to purported ISIS fighters who were planning attacks’, and offering advice for attacking NYC landmarks, such as the 9/11 Memorial.
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: ‘As we allege today, Bridges, a private in the US Army, betrayed our country and his unit when he plotted with someone he believed was an ISIS sympathiser to help ISIS attack and kill US soldiers in the Middle East.’
He continued: ‘Bridges could have chosen a life of honorable service, but instead he traded it for the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. This case should serve as a reminder that the FBI’s New York JTTF will never quit in its commitment to protect our Nation from all those who seek to do it harm.’
Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers added: ‘ISIS ideology continues to infect those who would threaten the nation’s security from within and without, and we will continue to fight this threat.’
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CreditsUS Department of Justice
US Department of Justice