US soldier arrested in plot to explode NYC 9/11 Memorial
NEW YORK (AP) – A U.S. Military soldier was arrested Tuesday in Georgia on terrorism fees after he spoke on-line about plots to explode New York Metropolis’s 9/11 Memorial and different landmarks and assault U.S. troopers within the Center East, authorities stated.
Cole James Bridges of Stow, Ohio, was in custody on fees of tried materials help of a terrorist group – the Islamic State group – and tried homicide of a navy member, stated Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for Manhattan federal prosecutors.
The 20-year-old soldier, also referred to as Cole Gonzales, was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, when he thought he was speaking with the Islamic State on-line concerning the terrorism plots, Biase stated.
Unbeknownst to Bridges, an FBI worker was in on the chat as Bridges offered detailed directions on techniques and manuals and recommendation about attacking the memorial and different targets in New York Metropolis, Biase stated.
“As we allege right this moment, Bridges, a personal within the U.S. Military, betrayed our nation and his unit when he plotted with somebody he believed was an ISIS sympathizer to assist ISIS assault and kill U.S. troopers within the Center East,” stated William F. Sweeney Jr., head of New York Metropolis’s FBI workplace.
“Happily, the particular person with whom he communicated was an FBI worker, and we had been in a position to forestall his evil wishes from coming to fruition,” Sweeney stated in a launch.
“Our troops threat their lives for our nation, however they need to by no means face such peril by the hands of considered one of their very own,” U.S. Legal professional Audrey Strauss stated.
Bridges was scheduled to make an preliminary look in federal court docket in Augusta, Georgia, on Thursday.
It was not instantly clear who would symbolize him.
Based on a felony grievance in Manhattan federal court docket, Bridges joined the U.S. Military in September 2019 and was assigned as a cavalry scout in Fort Stewart.
In some unspecified time in the future, he started researching and consuming on-line propaganda selling jihadists and their violent ideology, authorities stated.
They stated he expressed his help for the Islamic State group and jihad on social media earlier than he started speaking in October with an FBI worker who posed as an Islamic State group supporter in touch with the group’s fighters within the Center East.
Based on court docket papers, he expressed his frustration with the U.S. navy and his want to assist the Islamic State group.
The felony grievance stated he then offered coaching and steerage to purported Islamic State fighters who had been planning assaults, together with recommendation about potential targets in New York Metropolis, together with the 9/11 Memorial.
It stated he additionally offered parts of a U.S. Military coaching guide and steerage about navy fight techniques.
Bridges additionally diagrammed particular navy maneuvers to assist the terrorist group’s fighters kill U.S. troops, together with one of the simplest ways to fortify an encampment to repel an assault by U.S. Particular Forces and the right way to wire sure buildings with explosives to kill the U.S. troops, the grievance stated.
This month, in line with the grievance, Bridges despatched a video of himself in physique armor standing earlier than an Islamic State flag, gesturing help.
Per week later, Bridges despatched a second video wherein he used a voice manipulator and narrated a propaganda speech in help of the Islamic State group’s anticipated ambush of U.S. troops, the grievance stated.
In an announcement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Fort Stewart-based third Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Lindsey Elder, confirmed that Pfc. Cole James Bridges is assigned to the division. She stated division commanders are “cooperating totally with the FBI.”
Elder referred additional inquiries to the Pentagon.
Related Press author Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, contributed to this report.