A U.S. Army soldier was arrested Tuesday for trying to assist ISIS by plotting to kill fellow soldiers in the Middle East and providing advice on potential terrorist targets in New York, including the 9/11 Memorial, according to the Department of Justice.
Cole James Bridges, 20, who also went by Cole Gonzales, was charged with trying to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and attempting to murder military members.
As is common in terrorism busts, an undercover agent was involved in this case. Bridges, a private first class, allegedly corresponded with an FBI agent who posed online as a member of ISIS. Prosecutors say Bridges provided part of an Army training manual, guidance about military combat techniques, and advice about wiring buildings at ISIS encampments with explosives in order to kill American soldiers.
According to the indictment, the FBI agent first sent Bridges photographs of government buildings in and around New York City. Bridges then advised the agent to “choose your targets wisely.” He said certain targets would require too much ”firepower,” but the 9/11 Memorial could be attacked with a “sniper kill.”
Earlier this month, Bridges shot a video of himself wearing body armor and standing next to the ISIS flag, and sent it to the undercover agent.
Bridges, from Stowe, Ohio, faces a maximum of 40 years in prison. It is unclear if he has yet retained an attorney. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Georgia, where he was stationed at Fort Stewart.
“This alleged personal and professional betrayal of comrades and country is terrible to contemplate, but fortunately, the FBI was able to identify the threat posed by Bridges, and today's charges are the first step in holding him accountable for his crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers in a statement.