George W. Bush Assassination Plot Puts Spotlight on Border Fight

An alleged ISIS operative in the U.S. was reported to have been plotting to kill former President George W. Bush, according to an FBI search warrant application discovered by Forbes. Included in Forbes' Tuesday story were details of a plan to smuggle accomplices over the Mexican border, which has led to renewed calls for tightening border security.

The alleged operative of the Islamic State reportedly traveled to Dallas last November to scout Bush's home. While there, he allegedly sought to recruit help from what Forbes called "a team of compatriots" he wanted to bring across the southern border.

Forbes reported the information from an FBI search warrant application that was filed on March 23 in Ohio, where the alleged operative was based. The FBI reportedly uncovered the plot through two informants and by surveilling the individual's WhatsApp messages. The FBI documents showed the alleged would-be assassin had been in the U.S. since 2020 with a pending asylum application, according to Forbes. The outlet did not publish the alleged plotter's name since no charges have been filed against him, and the story said it's not clear if he has been arrested.

After news broke of the alleged plot, several GOP legislators took to Twitter to call for border security reform, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

"Stunning. This bombshell report puts it in the absolute starkest terms the necessity to secure the border NOW," Cruz wrote.

Issues regarding the U.S.-Mexico border have been a heated political topic in recent years. While former President Donald Trump attempted to build a wall on the border in order to reduce illegal crossings, President Joe Biden halted its construction when he took office. Meanwhile, Biden has been criticized by immigrant rights groups for weighing whether to keep some Trump-era policies in place while also being denounced by conservatives for not doing more to prevent migrants from coming into the U.S.

George W. Bush speaks on 9/11 anniversary
An alleged plot to assassinate former U.S. President George W. Bush has renewed calls for more border security. In this photo, Bush is seen speaking during a 9/11 commemoration at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 2021. Getty Images

During the first year of the Biden administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported it made about 1.66 million arrests of migrants crossing the border illegally, according to The Wall Street Journal. That number is the highest annual number ever recorded.

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee noted the person who allegedly wanted to kill Bush wanted to make use of the border in his scheme.

"The alleged plotter came into the U.S. in 2020, claimed asylum, and was planning to smuggle his terrorist friends in through the southern border," Blackburn tweeted.

Representative Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, said news of the foiled plot highlights the need to strengthen the borders.

"An ISIS terrorist was planning to smuggle assassins across our wide-open southern border to murder former President Bush," Banks wrote in a Twitter message. "The crisis at our southern border is a threat to the sovereignty of our nation and the safety of every community."

Republican Representative August Pfluger of Texas tweeted that the story shows the "threat of terrorism due to our porous southern border grows every day" and the U.S. "must secure our border."

Forbes said the suspect reportedly wanted to kill Bush due to his role in starting the Iraq War in the wake of 9/11. The article also reported the alleged plotter claimed in the FBI filing to having killed American soldiers in Iraq between 2003 and 2006.

Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.