FBI arrested the soldier on January 19 after an investigation showed him allegedly invovled in assisting ISIS to murder US military members.
Rabat – Morocco’s General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) provided the US with essential data on American soldier James Bridges, who was recently arrested for attempting to assist ISIS in attacking US troops.
On January 19, the US States Department of Justice announced the arrest of Bridges, emphasizing that the soldier provided “tactical guidance to attempt to help ISIS to attack American forces in the Middle East.”
“As alleged, Cole Bridges betrayed the oath he swore to defend the United States by attempting to provide ISIS with tactical military advice to ambush and kill his fellow service members. Our troops risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
Bridges is also believed to have provided training to ISIS fighters who were planning attacks, including advice about potential targets in New York City, such as the 9/11 Memorial.
On Monday, News Talk Florida quoted a Moroccan source, who revealed that US and Moroccan officials discussed the case of Bridges before his arrest.
Morocco’s DGST brought the case to the attention of the US in September 2020, according to the news outlet.
Moroccan state media confirmed the news on Tuesday, saying that DGST provided the FBI with crucial data regarding the arrested soldier.
Haboub Cherkaoui, the chief of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), said the American soldier attracted Moroccan intelligence’s attention for his online activities since last summer.
In an interview on January 24, the BCIJ chief said that Rabat’s security services usually provide crucial intelligence to their American counterparts.
“Morocco provided the US with information regarding the Khalden training camp, one of Osama bin Laden’s main military training camps in Afghanistan,” Habboub said. “The information allowed the bombing of the camp.”
Morocco’s counterterrorism leadership
In its report on Bridges’s case, News Talk Florida emphasized DGST’s leading role in countering terrorism under the leadership of Abdellatif Hammouchi.
The new US-Morocco cooperation against terrorism is another momentum, reflecting the importance of partnership between the two countries in the field of security.
The American outlet stressed the leadership of Hammouchi, also known as the “Super Cope” and “the man who does not sleep” in his role as the head of DGST and the General Directorate of National Security (DGST-DGSN).
The Moroccan official frequently holds meetings with high-ranking US officers as part of the American-Moroccan security and counter-terrorism cooperation.
One of the most recent meetings was in December 2020, when he met with several US officials, including David Fischer, the former US ambassador to Morocco.
Officials from the two countries frequently meet to discuss cooperation in the field of security, with the US repeatedly haling Morocco as a regional leader on counter-terrorism and security matters.
In its annual Country Report on Terrorism in June 2020, the US State Department commended Morocco’s efforts in counterterrorism and de-radicalization. According to the report, Morocco’s counterterrorism efforts are essential in mitigating terrorism risks in the MENA region.