A U.S. Army soldier was arrested Tuesday after the FBI uncovered his plans to destroy New York City's 9/11 Memorial and other landmarks.
Ohio native Cole James Bridges – also known as Cole Gonzales – was charged with attempted material support of the Islamic State and attempted murder of a military member.
The 20-year-old soldier's plans were uncovered in an FBI sting where agents posed as members of the Islamic State. Bridges, who was serving in the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart in Georgia, shared the plot to destroy the 9/11 Memorial and support attacks on U.S. servicemen in the Middle East.
The head of New York City's FBI office announced the charges.
"As we allege today, Bridges, a private in the U.S. Army, betrayed our country and his unit when he plotted with someone he believed was an ISIS sympathizer to help ISIS attack and kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East," said Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr.
Bridges joined the Army in 2019 but became disillusioned with the military and the United States as he began researching Islamic State propaganda.
After posting support for jihad and the terror group on social media, he began communicating with a FBI agent in October.
Authorities say Bridges spoke with the agent about advice for potential targets in New York City, including the 9/11 Memorial. He also gave insight into U.S. military tactics, filmed himself in front of an Islamic State flag to show support, and recorded a speech supporting Islamic State fighters.
Bridges is set to appear in federal court Thursday in Augusta, Georgia.
Lt. Col. Lindsey Elder of the Third Infantry Division said the base commanders are "cooperating fully with the FBI" regarding the case.