A US soldier hoped to team up with ISIS to launch a terror attack on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan, calling the sacred site “a key target,’’ according to explosive court papers Tuesday.
Army Pfc. Cole James Bridges — a 20-year-old calvary scout from Ohio — allegedly thought he was plotting with a member of the terrorist group while discussing attacking the Sept. 11 memorial.
His supposed ISIS cohorts were actually an undercover FBI worker and confidential informant, the feds said.
Bridges described how an assault on the memorial at Ground Zero “could honestly be a sniper kill and then getting out quietly for a second attack,’’ according to Manhattan federal-court papers.
The documents included a profile photo of the Stow, Ohio, suspect on one of his social-media accounts in August wearing traditional Muslim head garb.
The filing also contained a posting on the same account that month featuring a quote by a jihadist leader whose followers included one of the hijackers of the plane that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Everyone has to see which side he is on,” the quote reads in part.
While becoming radicalized online, Bridges researched such terms as “badass jihadi,’’ “green beret ambush’’ and “us soldier shooting’’ in late 2019 and through 2020, the papers said.
At one point, he allegedly admitted to the undercover, “I hate displaying the US flag on my shoulder,’’ apparently referring to his military uniform.
Bridges, who was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart in Georgia, sought to even help ISIS attack his US comrades in the Mideast, authorities said.
His sick efforts included providing part of an Army training manual and combat-instruction video in a bid to help the terror group kill as many US soldiers as possible, officials said.
“Fortunately, the person with whom he communicated was an FBI employee, and we were able to prevent his evil desires from coming to fruition,’’ FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement.
There were “diagrams that Bridges created demonstrating specific tactical maneuvers and strategy that ISIS should employ against U.S. forces, including rigging a compound with explosives for detonating when U.S. soldiers entered,” court papers alleged.
The documents included drawings that Bridges allegedly sent to the undercover agent showing a “ ‘bottleneck’ tactic” his unit would use “to create a ‘kill zone.’ “
The homegrown terror suspect even starred in a video he made for ISIS, authorities said.
Bridges “created a video for use by ISIS as propaganda, in which [he] appears in front of a jihadist flag, wearing body armor and speaking through a voice changer, and makes statements celebrating the anticipated ISIS attack on U.S. soldiers that [he] attempted to facilitate,” the feds said.
The turncoat private, who joined the Army in September 2019, “expressed his allegiance to ISIS and its radical jihadist ideology’’ including while he was with his unit at a US base in Germany in the fall, officials said.
He stayed true to the twisted cause when he returned stateside, authorities said.
The clueless Bridges boasted in the fall how his terrorist leanings were escaping detection by US authorities — despite the fact that he “used to have connections with people in Hamas and Isis,’’ the documents said.
“The government could have arrested me,’’ Bridges allegedly wrote. “So I needed to prove to them I wasn’t what they thought I was, and I needed the government to get off my back.
“It was never confirmed. They were suspicious,” he said of his allegiance to ISIS and US officials. “Even still because I had homeland security show up to my work before the army.”
Bridges, aka Cole Conzales, was arrested Tuesday and set to be hauled into federal court Thursday in that state, the feds said.
The suspect faces charges including providing material support to a foreign terror organization and the attempted murder of US servicemen.