A US army soldier has been arrested for allegedly aiding plans for Daesh (ISIS) terror attacks on the 9/11 memorial and on troops in the Middle East.
Cole Bridges, 20, allegedly provided online training and guidance, as well as advice about possible targets in New York City, to a user he believed was a Daesh supporter in contact with fighters in the Middle East.
Bridges also supplied portions of a US army training manual and detailed combat techniques to the user, who was actually an FBI covert employee.
In these communications, the 20-year-old reportedly drew specific US military manoeuvres and gave advise on how to fortify Daesh positions by wiring certain buildings with explosives.
The information provided by Bridges was intended to help Daesh "maximise the lethality of attacks on US troops," prosecutors say.
The 20-year-old has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to Daesh and one count of attempting to murder US military personnel.
Both charges carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Bridges, a private from Ohio, was arrested at the military barracks of Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he was stationed.
The 20-year-old reportedly started researching extremist ideologies and expressing support for Daesh on social media soon after joining the army in September 2019, prosecutors claim.
In October 2020, Bridges started communicating with the undercover FBI agent who he believed was a Daesh supporter.
In the conversations, the 20-year-old "expressed his frustration with the US military and his desire to aid Daesh," a statement issued by the Southern District of New York was quoted by Agence France Presse (AFP) as saying.
Bridges later sent a picture of himself standing in front of the black Daesh flag, wearing body armour, prosecutors say.
An army spokesperson said Bridges' alleged offences were a betrayal to the US military.
"The army is tasked with the duty and responsibility to protect our nation from its adversaries, and soldiers make incredible sacrifices in service to that cause," a spokesperson said in a statement.
He added: "When any soldier attempts to provide sensitive or classified information to an adversary, it is a betrayal of the oath they swore to the United States and the duty owed to their fellow soldiers."