On Venezuelan TV, a former Special Forces soldier claimed President Donald Trump ordered the mission to kidnap President Nicolás Maduro

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On Venezuelan TV, a former Special Forces soldier claimed President Donald Trump ordered the mission to kidnap President Nicolás Maduro
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (left) and the identification cards of those linked to the reported failed coup plot including former US service member Airan Berry.Business Insider/Miraflores Presidential Palace/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Venezuelan state television broadcast apparent confessions from former US Special Forces soldiers, detailing an alleged plot to kidnap President Nicolás Maduro and bring him to the US.
  • On Monday, Maduro identified two US service members, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, and said they were part of a failed coup.
  • Denman has said that he was acting under the order of President Donald Trump, a claim that Maduro reiterated. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied the US government's "direct involvement."
  • Former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau has claimed responsibility for "Operation Gideon," the alleged plan to remove Venezuela's socialist leader.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Venezuelan state media broadcast an apparent confession from former US service member Airan Berry, who detailed an alleged plot to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and bring him to the US.

On Monday, Maduro said that two US citizens were arrested with a group of "mercenaries" who had planned to overthrow his government. The two men were identified as former US Special Forces soldiers Luke Denman and Airan Berry.

In an edited confession broadcast by Venezuelan state television on Thursday, Berry, 41, detailed the alleged plot, explaining that his group planned to raid Maduro's palace before taking him away "however necessary."

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Asked where the aircraft carrying Maduro would have taken him, Berry said, "I assume that it is the United States."

According to Berry, the targets of the alleged plot included Venezuela's intelligence service and the country's military counterintelligence agency, DGCIM, as well as Maduro's presidential palace and a Caracas airbase control tower.

Berry said his role was to coordinate with Jordan Goudreau, an ex-Green Beret and the founder of the Florida security consulting firm Silvercorp USA, who has claimed that he sent Denman and Berry to take part in the mission.

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Goudreau, who called the alleged plot "Operation Gideon," said on Monday that the objective was capturing Maduro and "liberating" Venezuela from its socialist leader.

On Wednesday, Denman delivered an apparent confession on Venezuelan state TV, in which he said he was tasked with securing the airport and obtaining planes to carry Maduro back to the US.

"I thought I was helping Venezuelans take back control of their country," he said.

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Denman also said that he was acting under the order of President Donald Trump, a claim that Maduro reiterated on Wednesday.

On Venezuelan TV, a former Special Forces soldier claimed President Donald Trump ordered the mission to kidnap President Nicolás Maduro
President Nicolas Maduro shows what Venezuelan authorities claim are identification documents of former U.S. Special Forces soldiers Airan Berry and Luke Denman during a press conference on May 6, 2020.Miraflores Palace presidential press office via AP

"Donald Trump is behind all of this," Maduro said during a public broadcast, claiming that the operation has been commissioned by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

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Both Trump and Guaido have denied any involvement.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also denied the US government was responsible for the plot.

"There was no US government direct involvement in this operation," Pompeo told reporters. "If we'd have been involved, it would have gone differently."

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Pompeo said that the US was prepared to "use every tool" to bring the American men back from Venezuela. He declined to give additional information on who funded the alleged operation.

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