Collaboration between the DGST and the FBI for the neutralization of a radicalized American soldier

Faced with organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism, the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) deploys its action within the country, but also outside the borders through exemplary and recognized cooperation with key partners of Morocco, like the United States. It is within the framework of the security cooperation and coordination mechanism, one of the axes of the strategic partnership linking Rabat and Washington, that the services of the DGST have just made, according to the American press, a valuable contribution to the agencies. American security forces to neutralize a radicalized US soldier who planned to carry out a bloody terrorist attack. Thanks to this well-oiled cooperation, the soldier, Cole Bridges, was apprehended late last week while planning a terrorist attack on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan in New York City. The respondent also delivered sensitive information on American troops in the Middle East to elements of the nebula “Islamic State”, reports the American daily Newstalk Florida. Bridges joined the US military in 2019 and in that same year prosecutors say he has imbibed propaganda from terrorist groups, the daily notes, adding that he has started expressing his views on social media. by interacting on extremist forums under the pseudonym “Cole Gonzales”. In September 2020, Bridges’ case was brought to the attention of the U.S. government through DGST, the publication reports. “This organization has worked closely with the United States in its counterterrorism efforts in the past and has reported to the United States government the online activities of Bridges”, notes the American media, noting that between September and November 2020, the cause was assigned to an American military base in Germany. Thanks to information provided by the DGST, the FBI came into contact with Bridges by passing off one of its agents as an online jihadist. “When interacting with an individual he believed to be an ISIS affiliate, Bridges provided detailed diagrams and even training manuals to help ISIS fighters kill US forces. He also described the means of fortifying and protecting an encampment against an assault by American special forces by the use of explosive traps “, further details the daily. Bridges is accused of having attempted to provide material support to “Daesh” and of having attempted to assassinate American soldiers. If found guilty, each crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The arrest of Bridges is another example of the close security cooperation between Rabat and Washington, which is part of the multifaceted strategic partnership uniting the two countries. As a sign of the important value accorded by the United States to this aspect of their solid relations with the Kingdom, the former American Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, made a point, during his official visit in 2019 to Morocco, to go to the headquarters of the DGST in Témara, for talks with the director general of the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) and of the DGST, Abdellatif Hammouchi. As recently as last September, the former American ambassador in Rabat, David Fischer, had discussions with Abdellatif Hammouchi on a multitude of security subjects of common interest, in particular the mechanisms of cooperation and coordination in terms of the fight. against the risks of terrorist danger, violent extremism, organized crime and their growing links in the region of North Africa and the Sahel. Emphasis was also placed on the means capable of highlighting this cooperation, which has become a model to follow in the field of the fight against terrorism and which is called upon to develop further in the service of peace and stability in the region. and worldwide Information on Cole Bridges was provided by the Directorate General of Territorial Surveillance As part of the international engagement in the fight against terrorism, the Directorate General of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) has provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with precise information on the American soldier arrested on January 19, 2021, said Haboub Cherkaoui, director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), on Tuesday. The case of the American soldier named “Cole Bridges”, arrested in coordination between the FBI and the American Army for his involvement in the planning of terrorist acts in addition to his links with elements belonging to Daesh, had attracted the attention of the DGST last summer for its jihadist orientations and its permeation by extremist thought, noted Haboub Cherkaoui in a statement to the MAP. This required from the DGST to communicate to the FBI, in September 2020, specific information about this soldier and his terrorist activity, he said. The American soldier is accused in particular of having plotted a terrorist attack on the 9/11 memorial in Manhattan, New York. He is also accused of attempting to provide material support to Daesh and of attempting to assassinate American servicemen.