US Army Soldier Arrested on Terror Charges

Cole Bridges was arrested after he talked about a possible attack with an F.B.I. informant posing online as a sympathizer with the Islamic State.

An American soldier discussed targets for potential terror attacks in the United States and shared instructions for killing American troops in the Middle East with someone he believed was an Islamic State supporter, federal authorities said on Tuesday.

While stationed in Germany last fall, the soldier discussed possible targets, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan, a criminal complaint shows.

Choose your targets wisely, the soldier, Cole James Bridges, an Army private from Ohio, wrote to the person he believed was a woman working with the Islamic State. But it turned out that Private Bridges was messaging with an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the complaint, which was made public on Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

Private Bridges, 20, was arrested on Tuesday by the F.B.I. and Army Counterintelligence in Georgia, where he had been assigned as a cavalry scout in the 3rd Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart.

He was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and the attempted murder of U.S. military service members, according to the complaint; each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

No attack was ever carried out. But Private Bridges advised the undercover F.B.I. employee on how to mount an attack in New York City, according to the complaint. He also provided the undercover F.B.I. employee with instructions on how to conduct an attack on U.S. forces in the Middle East, federal authorities said.

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