Pope Francis assassination plot: American jihadist planned terrorist attack on Pope, pleads guilty
Despite the majority of Americans understanding that radical Islam was — and remains — the most serious threat to public safety and national security, for its entire eight-years the Obama administration denied that reality. To President Barack Obama and his team, terrorism spawned by Islamist jihad wasn’t the problem. Instead, 7-years after 9-11, Obama’s minions insisted America’s real threat comes from something called “violent extremism.” Even worse was how the Obama team viewed Americans who saw radical Islamism as the root of the problem needed to be hauled into court and re-educated, according to former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo.
For example, this week during a low-key court hearing, now 17-year-old Santos Colon, Jr., of Lindenwold, New Jersey, entered a guilty plea as an adult to one count of attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Colon made a plea deal that included his acceptance of being treated as an adult despite his being a minor at the time he committed his felony. Colon also used his Muslim name, Ahmad Shakoor, during the planning of his multifaceted terrorist attack on Pope Francis during his whirlwind visit to the United States in 2015.
Colon (a/k/a Shakoor) entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman in a Camden, New Jersey, federal courtroom.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Colon, a U.S. citizen, admitted that from June 30, 2015, to Aug. 14, 2015, he planned to conduct an attack during the September 2015 visit of the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His plot involved utilizing a sniper to shoot the Pope during his Papal mass as well as setting off improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the surrounding area in which thousands of people gathered for the Papal visit.
Prosecutors said Colon admitted to conspiring to commit an ISIS terrorism act that included detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at targets located in Philadelphia between June 30, 2015 to Aug. 14, 2015. In addition, Colon also admitted to the planning of Pope’s assassination prior to his visit to the city.
When Colon searched for a fellow jihadist to be a sniper/assassin, he unknowingly “hooked up” with an undercover FBI confidential informant. Colon engaged in target reconnaissance with his FBI confidential source and instructed the source to purchase materials to make explosive devices. At that point, FBI special agents arrested Colon.
“Colon faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross amount of any financial gain or loss from the offense. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” according to Justice Department and counter-terrorism officials.
“We [were] monitoring very closely threats against the pope while in the United States,” Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) told ABC news show “This Week.” “We have disrupted one particular case,” said the former FBI special agent now a congressman.
Francis started his six-day U.S. tour on Sept. 22, 2015, when he landed in Washington, D.C.. Francis visited the White House, participated in a papal parade, and spoke during a public appearance at the Capitol building.
McCaul said he had been briefed by the Secret Service “in a classified setting” about the pope’s visit and the most challenging aspect to security officials is the man-of-the-people pontiff’s tendency to wander in public spaces.