Counter-terrorism: DGST allows US to neutralize radicalized soldier before acting

It is within the framework of the security cooperation and coordination mechanism, one of the axes of the strategic partnership between Rabat and Washington, that DGST services have just made, according to the American press, a valuable contribution to the US security agencies (FBI) in order to neutralize a radicalized US soldier who was planning to commit a bloody terrorist attack.

Thanks to this well-oiled cooperation, soldier Cole Bridges was apprehended late last week as he planned a terrorist attack on the September 11 memorial in Manhattan, New York. The respondent also delivered sensitive information about American troops in the Middle East to elements of the โ€œIslamic Stateโ€ nebula, reports the US daily Newstalk Florida.

Bridges joined the US Army in 2019 and that same year, prosecutors report that he has become permeated with the propaganda of terrorist groups, the daily notes, adding that he began to express his opinions on social networks by interacting on extremist forums under the pseudonym โ€œCole Gonzalesโ€.

In September 2020, the Bridges case was brought to the attention of the US government through the DGST, the publication said.

โ€œThis organization, led by Abdellatif Hammouchi, has worked closely with the United States in its counter-terrorism efforts in the past and reported to the US government the online activities of Bridges,โ€ the US media outlet notes, noting that between September and November 2020, the respondent was posted to a US military base in the past. Germany.

Based on information provided by the DGST, the FBI came into contact with Bridges by making one of its agents an online jihadist.

โ€œWhen interacting with an individual he thought was an IS affiliate, Bridges provided detailed diagrams and even training manuals to help ISIS fighters kill US forces. He also described ways to strengthen and protect a camp against an assault by the US Special Forces through the use of explosive traps,โ€ the daily reports.

Bridges is accused of attempting to provide material support to โ€œISISโ€ and of attempting to assassinate American military personnel. If convicted, each crime is punishable by a maximum sentence 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 between the two countries.

A sign of the important value given by the United States to this aspect of its strong relations with the Kingdom, former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, during his official visit to Morocco in 2019, visited the DGST headquarters in Temara, for talks with the Director General of the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN) and DGST, Mr. Abdellatif Hammouchi.

No further than last September, the former US ambassador in Rabat, David Fischer held discussions with Mr. Hammouchi on a multitude of security issues of common interest, including mechanisms for cooperation and coordination in combating the risks of terrorist danger, violent extremism, organized crime and their growing links in the North Africa and Sahel region.

Emphasis has also been placed on ways to enhance this cooperation, which has become a model to follow in the field of counter-terrorism and to develop further in the service of peace and stability in the region and in the world.