A U.S. Army soldier was arrested Tuesday and charged for allegedly plotting to blow up New York’s 9/11 Memorial and ambush U.S. soldiers in the Middle East.
Cole James Bridges of Stow, Ohio, is charged with attempted material support of a terrorist organization and attempted murder of a military member, the Justice Department said. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Mr. Bridges, 20, was a member of the Third Infantry Division in Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Prosecutors say he was communicating about possible terror attacks with an individual he thought was a member of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
Mr. Bridges offered the individual detailed instructions on tactics and offered advice about how to attack the 9/11 Memorial and other targets in New York, according to court documents.
In December 2020, Mr. Bridges then began to supply the individual with instructions for how the Islamic State’s fighters could attack U.S. forces in the Middle East, prosecutors said. He allegedly diagrammed specific military maneuvers to help the Islamic State maximize U.S. casualties.
He also sent the individual a video of himself in body armor standing before a flag used by the Islamic State and making a gesture in support of their cause, court documents revealed.
“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 for National Security John C. Demers.