His guilty plea to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization was also reported by the Justice Department. Authorities claim that Cole Bridges, posing as Cole Gonzales, gave confidential information to a government informant.
The maximum sentence against him is 40 years in jail. Mr. Bridges enlisted in the United States Army in the fall of 2019 and was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Soon after, he “began researching and consuming online propaganda promoting jihadists and their violent ideology,” as stated by the US Attorney’s Office.
In October 2020, however, Mr. Bridges began communicating with a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent acting as an IS supporter in touch with individuals in the Middle East.
The below tweet verifies the news:
US soldier pleads guilty to attempting to help IS https://t.co/h6v698NIPy
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 15, 2023
Mr. Bridges told the undercover FBI agent about his dissatisfaction with the US military and his desire to help IS (also known as ISIS).
The statement said he began providing “training and guidance to purported ISIS fighters who were planning attacks, including advice about potential targets in New York City”.
“portions of a US Army training manual and guidance about military combat tactics” were also allegedly supplied to the undercover agent.
By the end of 2020, Mr. Bridges was giving IS fighters step-by-step guides and even a blueprint of precise military exercises designed to increase deaths among US troops stationed in the Middle East.
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He uploaded a video of himself dressed in full US Army battle gear saluting an IS flag. A week later, he transmitted another video in which he, one again, manipulated his voice to give the impression that he was speaking in support of an IS ambush of American troops.
“As he admitted in court today, Cole Bridges attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his fellow soldiers in service of ISIS and its violent ideology,” said Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Bridges’ actions were a betrayal of his fellow soldiers and his country. His sentencing date is set for November 2.
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