(VitalNews.org) – Cole Bridges, aged 22, has pleaded guilty to providing support to terrorists and for attempting to kill members of the U.S. armed forces. Bridges, known also as Cole Gonzales, joined the army in September 2019 and was stationed in Fort Stewart, Georgia. The Ohio man quickly began to research propaganda created by, and in support of, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
In October 2020, he struck up a rapport with an FBI agent posing as a fellow anti-Western extremist. The undercover agent presented himself as a supporter of ISIS who was friendly with actual, fighting members of ISIS. Bridges was keen to assist in the murderous organization’s aims and sent the undercover agent materials aimed at helping ISIS and proving his devotion to them. This material included advice about possible targets in New York City, guidance on how best to attack their victims, and he even provided the agent with parts of a U.S. Army training manual. Bridges also sent the undercover investigator a video of himself, dressed in his U.S. military body armor, posing before an ISIS flag to show his loyalty.
In December 2020, Bridges progressed to sharing instructions for ISIS terrorists on how to attack his fellow U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, and how to maximize the number of deaths. He even narrated a propaganda video for ISIS in which he voiced encouragement and support for this proposed attack on his own military colleagues.
Bridges was arrested in January 2021 and has since pled guilty in a Manhattan court to two crimes, both of which carry a maximum penalty of twenty years. The first is providing support to a terrorist group, and the second is of trying to murder members of the U.S. military. The disgraced former soldier awaits sentencing, which will be carried out by Judge Liman on November 2nd, 2023. Damian Williams, District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, praised the joint efforts of the agencies who worked to capture Bridges.
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