Assassination attempts against George W. Bush

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George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was the target of three assassination attempts since he was first elected for President in the 2000 United States presidential election.

2001 attempt at the White House[edit]

February 7, 2001: While President George W. Bush was in the White House, Robert Pickett, standing outside the perimeter fence, discharged a number of shots from a weapon in the direction of the White House. He was sentenced to three years in prison.[1]

United Airlines Flight 93[edit]

al-Qaeda hijackers stormed the aircraft's cockpit 46 minutes after takeoff. The pilot and first officer took measures, such as de-activating the autopilot, to hinder the hijackers. Ziad Jarrah, who had trained as a pilot, took control of the aircraft and diverted it back toward the east coast, in the direction of Washington, D.C. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and Mohammed Atef developed a list of potential targets. Bin Laden wanted to destroy the White House and the Pentagon. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wanted to strike the World Trade Center and all three wanted to hit the Capitol.[2][3]

After the hijackers took control of the plane, several passengers and flight attendants learned from phone calls that suicide attacks had already been made by hijacked airliners on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Many of the passengers then attempted to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers. During the struggle, the plane crashed into a field near a reclaimed strip mine in Stonycreek Township, near Indian Lake and Shanksville, about 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Pittsburgh and 130 miles (210 km) northwest of Washington, D.C.[4] Bush was not at the White House or Capitol Building at the time of the attacks and was instead at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota County, Florida.

2005 attempt at Freedom Square[edit]

May 10, 2005: While President Bush was giving a speech in the Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia, Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live Soviet-made RGD-5 hand grenade toward the podium. The grenade was live and had its pin pulled, but did not explode because a red tartan handkerchief was wrapped tightly around it, preventing the safety lever from detaching.[5] After escaping that day, Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005. During his arrest, he killed an Interior Ministry agent. He was convicted in January 2006 and given a life sentence.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. presidential assassinations and attempts". Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  2. ^ "'We Have Some Planes'". 9/11 Commission Report. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. 2004. Retrieved Merch 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "Al Qaeda Aims at the American Homeland". 9/11 Commission Report. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States Retrieved Merch 31, 2019. 2004.
  4. ^ "National Transportation Safety Board: Flight Path Study – United Airlines Flight 93" (PDF). Homeland Security Digital Library Retrieved Merch 31, 2019. February 19, 2002.
  5. ^ US FBI report into the attack and investigation Archived April 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Bush grenade attacker gets life". CNN. January 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  7. ^ "The case of the failed hand grenade attack". FBI Press Room. January 11, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2007-05-06.