Teen Arrested in Plot to Kill Pope Francis

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 8:30 AM
Teen Arrested in Plot to Kill Pope Francis

Pope Francis makes his first visit to the United States next week, and security is pretty intense in the cities where he will be visiting. And it's for a good reason: while there are no specific threats against the pontiff, there is at least some chatter making officials nervous for the Pope's safety.

Tuesday, it was reported that last month, the FBI arrested a 15-year-old boy in Philadelphia who was allegedly planning an "ISIS-inspired" attack to kill the Bishop of Rome.

“The minor was inspired by [ISIS] and sought to conduct a detailed homeland attack which included multiple attackers, firearms, and multiple explosives, targeting a foreign dignitary at a high-profile event,” according to a joint intelligence bulletin by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued to law enforcement across the country on Aug 14.

The “foreign dignitary” mentioned in that bulletin is the Pope, who will finish his U.S. trip with two days of events in Philadelphia, sources told ABC News. In fact, the case is what the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mike McCaul, was likely referring to Sunday when he disclosed that U.S. authorities “have disrupted one particular case” involving threats to attack the Pope, sources said.

“The minor obtained explosives instructions and further disseminated these instructions through social media,” according to the joint intelligence bulletin.

Threats against the pope (or any head of state) are unfortunately fairly common, yet the fact that the suspect in this case is 15 most certainly is not. It's equal parts mind-blowing and concerning that a child who is too young to legally drive a car is capable of plotting something to the extent that would raise FBI concerns and trigger his arrest. Young people are incredibly impressionable and easily swayed, and access to the internet is connecting these young people with others who are putting them down a very dangerous path in life. Kudos to the FBI for breaking up this plot before the suspect was able to develop it further.