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Trump was targeted by ISIS assassination plot in 2017, Secret Service says

President Donald J. Trump takes time to shake hands with Guardsmen and guests before departing the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing in Coraopolis, Pa. Jan. 18, 2018. (Senior Airman Kyle Brooks/U.S. Air National Guard)
October 14, 2018

A recent National Geographic Channel documentary revealed that ISIS attempted to carry out an assassination plot against President Trump in 2017.

In the two-hour special documentary, “United States Secret Service: On the Front Line,” Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division Anthony Ornato said the agency identified a credible threat against President Trump just ahead of his scheduled landing in Manila, Philippines last year, the Daily Beast reported Friday.

President Trump was arriving in the city in Nov. 2017 to attend the ASEAN 50 summit, as well as to hold a meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

“There is credible information that an incident could occur during ASEAN,” said Special Agent Gibson in the documentary as she led the Secret Service briefing while in Manila. “As of this week, the Philippines has escalated to a critical threat level,” she added, pointing to a map with markers of known threats from ISIS and its affiliates.

In the days ahead of President Trump’s visit to Manila, ISIS released numerous video threats depicting photos of the President riddled with bullet wounds, accompanied by a message to followers to “lie in wait” before conducting an “ambush” on the President after his arrival.

Additionally, an agent informed Gibson of a tweet posted in the days ahead of the President’s arrival, which read, “Gonna be in Manila the same time as Trump… I’ll take one for the team lads.” The tweet was posted alongside a mugshot photo of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Upon further investigation, agents discovered the suspect’s Instagram account, which contained a photo of him alongside the book, “How to Kill: The Definitive History of the Assassin.” By tracking the suspect’s IP address, agents also found out that he was located in Manila, not far from the hotel where President Trump was scheduled to stay.

The suspect’s social media activity indicated he was heading right for the President’s hotel.

Even worse, the Secret Service teams discovered that an ISIS operative was also located in downtown Manila just before President Trump was scheduled to land. Just 20 minutes before his arrival, agents still couldn’t pinpoint the operative’s location.

The documentary showed Special Agent Ragan yelling into the phone, “What is going on proactively to track this guy down? I need an update. Now.”

Minutes later, agents tracked the operative to Luneta Park, located a mile from President Trump’s hotel. The operative was said to be meeting with “an associate.” Secret Service agents worked quickly with Philippine National Police (PNP) to search the park and capture the operative.

“With technology, that was one of the things that was a blessing for us, because we were able to know that he was moving close to us, where he was, and track him. That was a huge piece of stopping the threat,” Ragan later told Daily Beast.

Secret Service agents didn’t discuss additional threats against President Trump, or whether he was the target of more threats comparatively to President Obama. They say it is imperative to remain non-partisan.

“It doesn’t matter if you like the person that’s in office, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the person that’s in office—the bottom line is you’re not protecting that person, you’re protecting the office and what it stands for,” Ragan said. “We all believe that.”