(National Sentinel) On the Job: The U.S. Secret Service managed to foil a “credible” plot by ISIS to assassinate POTUS Donald Trump last year, according to a report that aired on the National Geographic channel Sunday.
According to Anthony Ornato, the Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division, intelligence chatter led his agents to conclude that a credible threat was waiting for POTUS on the ground when he was scheduled to land in Manila, Philippines, for the ASEAN 50 summit in November 2017.
As reported by The Daily Beast:
“There is credible information that an incident could occur during ASEAN,” says Special Agent Gibson, leading the Secret Service’s personnel brief in Manila. Pointing to a map of ISIS and ISIS-affiliated threat actors, she adds, “As of this week, the Philippines has escalated to a critical threat level.” (Days before the president’s visit, ISIS issued a series of threats—via video—that featured a picture of the president filled with bullets, and a message urging jihadists to “lie in wait” and “ambush” POTUS in the Philippines.)
Prior to President Trump’s arrival on Air Force One, a PID agent informs Special Agent Gibson that he’s come across a credible threat against POTUS—in the form of a tweet reading, “Gonna be in Manila the same time as Trump… I’ll take one for the team lads,” accompanied by a mugshot of Lee Harvey Oswald. And on his Instagram, they find a photo of the male suspect wielding a copy of the book How to Kill: The Definitive History of the Assassin. The PID agents then track his IP address and discover that the man is indeed located in downtown Manila, kilometers away from the president’s hotel, and his social media posts reveal that he is traveling in the direction of the president’s hotel. They continue to monitor him.
The situation continued to develop. Twenty minutes before Air Force One was scheduled to land in Manila, the Secret Service still did not know where the suspect was located.
Chad Ragan, the agent in charge for the trip, demanded to know: “I need an update, NOW!” he told fellow agents.
Minutes later, agents tracked the suspect to Luneta Park, which is located just a mile away from the hotel where POTUS Trump was to stay, as he met with someone.
With the assistance of the Philippine National Police, Secret Service agents swept the park and apprehended the suspect.
Ragan credited much of the Secret Service’s success to technology. “We were able to know that he was moving close to us, where he was, and track him. That was a huge piece of stopping the threat.”
He also credited local police forces for helping Secret Service agents when they are in-country.
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