Saudi Man Living in West Texas Arrested For "Attempted Use of Weapon of Mass Destruction"

Categories: Crime
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Moments ago, the Department of Justice announced that an investigation by the FBI's Dallas Joint Terrorism Task Force has led to the arrest of 20-year-old Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who was born in Saudi Arabia but came to the United States in 2008 on a student visa so he could attend South Plains College in Levelland, just outside Lubbock. The feds allege that Aldawsari attempted to buy chemicals needed to make an improvised explosive device, posted repeatedly to blogs promising to help defeat "the infidels" and kept a list of "potential U.S. targets." Says the Department of Justice:
On Feb. 6, 2011, the affidavit alleges, Aldawsari sent himself an e-mail titled "Tyrant's House," in which he listed the Dallas address for former President George W. Bush. The affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari conducted research that could indicate his consideration of the use of infant dolls to conceal explosives and possible targeting of a nightclub with an explosive concealed in a backpack.
The DOJ's lengthy narrative follows, as does the affidavit that was just unsealed in advance of Aldawsari's appearance in federal court in Lubbock this morning.
TEXAS RESIDENT ARRESTED ON CHARGE OF ATTEMPTED USE OF WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION

Suspect Allegedly Purchased Bomb Materials and Researched U.S. Targets

WASHINGTON - Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested late yesterday by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.

The arrest and the criminal complaint, which was unsealed in the Northern District of Texas, were announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas; and Robert E. Casey Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas Field Division.

Aldawsari is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Lubbock at 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Aldawsari, who was lawfully admitted into the United States in 2008 on a student visa and is enrolled at South Plains College near Lubbock, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Aldawsari has been researching online how to construct an IED using several chemicals as ingredients. He has also acquired or taken a substantial step toward acquiring most of the ingredients and equipment necessary to construct an IED and he has conducted online research of several potential U.S. targets, the affidavit alleges. In addition, he has allegedly described his desire for violent jihad and martyrdom in blog postings and a personal journal.

"As alleged in the complaint, Aldawsari purchased ingredients to construct an explosive device and was actively researching potential targets in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, this plot was thwarted before it could advance further," said Assistant Attorney General Kris. "This case serves as another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad."

"Yesterday's arrest demonstrates the need for and the importance of vigilance and the willingness of private individuals and companies to ask questions and contact the authorities when confronted with suspicious activities. Based upon reports from the public, Aldawsari's plot was uncovered and thwarted. We're confident we have neutralized the alleged threat posed by this defendant. Those reports resulted in the initiation of a complex and far-reaching investigation requiring almost around the clock work by hundreds of dedicated FBI agents, analysts, prosecutors and others. Their effort is another example of the work being done to protect our country and its citizens. These individuals are deserving of our respect and gratitude," said U.S. Attorney Jacks.

"This arrest and criminal charge is a result of the success of the FBI's counterterrorism strategy, which is to detect, penetrate, and disrupt terrorist plots in the United States and against U.S. interests abroad. In this case, FBI Agents and other FBI experts worked tirelessly to neutralize the imminent terrorist threat described in the criminal complaint. The public can be justifiably proud of the national security expertise shown by the FBI in this investigation," said Special Agent in Charge Casey.

Purchases of Chemical Ingredients and Other Equipment

The affidavit alleges that on Feb. 1, 2011, a chemical supplier reported to the FBI a suspicious attempted purchase of concentrated phenol by a man identifying himself as Khalid Aldawsari. According to the affidavit, phenol is a toxic chemical with legitimate uses, but can also be used to make the explosive trinitrophenol, also known as T.N.P., or picric acid. The affidavit alleges that other ingredients typically used with phenol to make picric acid, or T.N.P., are concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids.

Aldawsari allegedly attempted to have the phenol order shipped to a freight company so it could be held for him there, but the freight company returned the order to the supplier and called the police. Later, Aldawsari falsely told the supplier he was associated with a university and wanted the phenol for "off-campus, personal research." Frustrated by questions being asked over his phenol order, Aldawsari cancelled his order and later e-mailed himself instructions for producing phenol. The affidavit alleges that in December 2010, he successfully purchased concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids.

According to the affidavit, legally authorized electronic surveillance revealed that Aldawsari used various e-mail accounts in researching explosives and targets, and often sent emails to himself as part of this process. On Feb. 11, 2011, for instance, he allegedly e-mailed himself a recipe for picric acid, which the e-mail describes as a "military explosive." He also allegedly sent himself an e-mail on Oct. 19, 2010 that contained information on the material required for Nitro Urea, how to prepare it, and the advantages of using it.

The affidavit alleges that Aldawsari also e-mailed himself instructions on how to convert a cellular phone into a remote detonator and how to prepare a booby-trapped vehicle using items available in every home. One e-mail allegedly contained a message stating that "one operation in the land of the infidels is equal to ten operations against occupying forces in the land of the Muslims." During December 2010 and January 2011, Aldawsari allegedly purchased many other items, including a gas mask, a Hazmat suit, a soldering iron kit, glass beakers and flasks, wiring, a stun gun, clocks and a battery tester.

Searches of Aldawsari's Residence

Two legally authorized searches of Aldawsari's apartment conducted by the FBI in February 2011 indicated that the concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids; the beakers and flasks; wiring; Hazmat suit; and clocks were present in Aldawsari's residence.

FBI agents also found a notebook at Aldawsari's residence that appeared to be a diary or journal. According to the affidavit, excerpts from the journal indicate that Aldawsari had been planning to commit a terrorist attack in the United States for years. One entry describes how Aldawsari sought and obtained a particular scholarship because it allowed him to come directly to the United State and helped him financially, which he said "will help tremendously in providing me with the support I need for Jihad." The entry continues: "And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad."

In another entry, Aldawsari allegedly wrote that he was near to reaching his goal and near to getting weapons to use against infidels and their helpers. He also listed a "synopsis of important steps" that included obtaining a forged U.S. birth certificate; renting a car; using different driver's licenses for each car rented; putting bombs in cars and taking them to different places during rush hour; and leaving the city for a safe place.

Research on Potential Targets

According to the affidavit, Aldawsari conducted research on various targets and e-mailed himself information on these locations and people. One of the documents he sent himself, with the subject line listed as "Targets," allegedly contained the names and home addresses of three American citizens who had previously served in the U.S. military and had been stationed for a time at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In another e-mail titled "NICE TARGETS 01," Aldawsari allegedly sent himself the names of 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California. In another e-mail to himself, titled "NICE TARGETS," he listed two categories of targets: hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. On Feb. 6, 2011, the affidavit alleges, Aldawsari sent himself an e-mail titled "Tyrant's House," in which he listed the Dallas address for former President George W. Bush. The affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari conducted research that could indicate his consideration of the use of infant dolls to conceal explosives and possible targeting of a nightclub with an explosive concealed in a backpack.

The affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari created a blog in which he posted extremist messages. In one posting, he expressed dissatisfaction with current conditions of Muslims and vowed jihad and martyrdom. "You who created mankind....grant me martyrdom for Your sake and make jihad easy for me only in Your path," he wrote.

This case was investigated by the FBI's Dallas Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance from the Lubbock Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Baker and Denise Williams from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas, and Trial Attorney David Cora from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Aldawsari Complaint Affidavit
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38 comments
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Lindy
Lindy

totally shameful...shame on you United States...shame on you for..letting this idiot "Aldawsari"even get so far as to go to school in Texas and study "chemical engineering". My God...what thehell was someone with a name like "Aldawsari" doing in our school studying "chemical engineering" in the first place??? How stupid as a nation can we be...especially after full well knowing the Bastards from 9?11 went to our schools to learn how to fly planes....this SOB alsowent to school to learn how to make bombs..real smart US, real smart....he should of been sent away immediately...how the hell he got in here is another story.His diary...put bombs in dolls, infant carriages, cars, blow up dams, President Bush's house,and more...at his residence were hazmat suit, beakers, sulfruic/nitric acid, stun gun, gas mask.My God, what the hell more do we need to send him to jail, back to his country, or kill him...?Personally, killing him would be my option..Yes, the US once was a great country...but now, weare looked upon as fools, we get made fun of and laughed at..a terrorist is a terrorist no matter.Now what??He already has an idiot lawyer who wants to prove not guilty! Isn't that absurd? There is so much evidence, it is so silly...almost funny...I try, but I just can't laugh...no ..no more..

MalikTous
MalikTous

We should declare membership in al-aqsa, al-qaeda, hamas, hezbollah, islamic-jihad, taliban, or muslim-brotherhood a capital felony. We should declare sharia a felony. We should prosecute immediately to destroy these tools of false Islam forever in the USA. Whether or not this idiot ever got to the point at which he could build and use an explosive or other WMD device, if he has membership in those proscribed mujadeen groups, he should be executed. If he's just been set up by crooked (usually Liberal) government agencies, he should be exonerated.

Kidplay
Kidplay

I'm not American and not sure how everyone feels, but well payed people at competenet agencies should stop playing in sand castles on the beach and try to do some real work once in a while. I mean this kind of kids play detection they should be a bit ashame to let publish in newspaper - or not?

Eupackardia
Eupackardia

Hmmm I see here Incentive for the Mob Rule...

Waaaaaggghhh !!

10+ leadership and gains fearless

- 10 intelligence in the process...

Da' Ork's gonna Kil' da Islam

Rcheatham
Rcheatham

I heard he was an SAE at Tech. They'll let anybody in.

Kevin
Kevin

Lubbock is not in West Texas, it's in the panhandle of Texas.

Ruth Anne
Ruth Anne

Helluva time to be refusing the fund the FBI at the rate it requested and needs. They have been forced to freeze hiring. They will be unable to replace critical employees who retire or leave. They have canceled New Agent Trainee classes for the rest of the year. All this just as the threat of homegrown terrorists has really started to tick up. There have been attempts or planned attacks on Chicago's Wrigley Field, NYC's Times Square, Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a recruiting station in Maryland, and a few more. I know we need budget cuts, but why is the FBI on the chopping block? The Department of Homeland Security is not, nor is the Department of Defense (outside of a few weapons programs.)

scottindallas
scottindallas

if we'd repeal the Patriot act and force our "intelligence" agencies to focus on real threats, get FISA warrants--only a handful have ever been refused after the 72 hour leeway granted the state; it might help them to focus their attention. The worst effect about the lay-offs that are coming is that it will stall our economy. Even the dastardly and self serving Goldman Sachs acknowledges as much (seek story in today's NYTimes) This will really strain our budgets even further and hopefully we will make a cost benefit analysis about economic policy. Should we be flying drones over Yemen, purchasing the right from the President of 36 yrs. Those hellfire missiles have killed women and children, while the pres doesn't care, that's either country's pres. the people are enraged. And here on the home front, few of us know that we've had an active and aggressive drone campaign for over a year. Praise Jesus, I guess

scottindallas
scottindallas

"They're not lone nut jobs! They are Muslims who have been taught to hate the West, democracy, Christians, Jews and anyone else who doesn't believe in their cult. There are hundreds of MILLIONS of them who have been taught such things. "

They never hated the West, the West has always attacked them. They aren't the ones stationed in our country. Are you totally daft? Democracy? They are dying in the streets for democracy as we speak, and the weapons that are killing them? Made in America. Many Palestinians are Christians, google the Sabeel center for one group of Christian Palestinians--they resent the American abetted occupation, and settlement growth, something that is against US policy since 67 yet we don't have the courage to support in the UN, where once again, US policy played a back-seat to Israeli whims. Again, your theory that the Quran teaches that is wrong, would you care to cite an iyat? or verse? It is also belied by history which has show the West attacking the Holy Land and Middle East repeatedly. The West has essentially occupied the Middle East for 90 years. But, somehow, I don't think you know the first bit of that. You will find a column in the New New Yorker magazine with will affirm much of what I am saying. Try reading something other than Glenn Beck books.

C. Rice
C. Rice

We fight them over there so we won't have to figh them here. Remember that? Heckuva job, Bushie!

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

Okay, I get it. After 911, we should have simply & kindly asked Muslim terrorists to please please, pretty please leave us alone.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Uhh, no, but how about a little reflection. What are the Muslims across North Africa and the Middle East revolting against? American supported dictators. How about, we cut our support for them and then I guarantee you, much of that enmity will vanish. Secondly, if we had a slightly more measured approach toward Israel, akin to say Canada or Great Britain that would eliminate another substantial bit of the legitimate grievances. Anyway, the Middle East is being wrestled from our control, which is a good thing for all Americans. We can protect our interests there with one or two carrier groups rather than the 5-6 we have stationed there now.

In fact our entire debt lays at the feet of the Defense budget. Since entitlements just this year finally failed to return a surplus, all the deficits can be laid at the feet of the defense dept. When you consider that the #3 expenditure of gov't is interest on the debt, (for our defense spending) so that completes the cycle. MAny of our elites have larded themselves with no bid contracts, sweetheart deals and insider trading. So, we've loaned them money from our entitlements, and now they want to cut them, while refusing to cut or restrain their international adventurism.

When do we wake up, stop stomping through the lands of other people and act mystified when they get angry? You guys are real classy.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Well, since bombing the crap out of two countries and being loudly belligerent to a few others didn't work, maybe we should try something else.

TimCov
TimCov

"They're not lone nut jobs! They are Muslims who have been taught to hate the West, democracy,"

Not all Muslims hate the west and democracy. We have plenty of Muslims proudly serving in our military (including in Iraq and Afghanistan). The problem is those who follow a fundamentalist belief system with fanatacism. Just like we have the lunatics who shoot doctors for performing legal procedures, blow up federal buildings and burn crosses on people's lawns. The Bible commands that believers kill certain classes of people, yet there are plenty of Christians who do not follow these tenants. Yet, should we also condemn all Christians as terrorists.

scottindallas
scottindallas

JK, come on, you've got to do better than to point to one of the longest Suras in the Quran, if not the longest, 286 iyats. I would point you to the dozen cities where Joshua leads the Israelites to kill every man, woman and child and sometimes all the animals, sometimes not, of a dozen cities. Start with Joshua 10 and go from there. It celebrates genocide. I assure you, you will find nothing of that kind in the Quran. If I had read it, I'd admit it.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

@TimCov: I could make exactly the same point about DHS and their reactions to Richard Reid. Basing policy on the actions of lone nut jobs is a bad idea, just as you say.

Yes, America has become the boogeyman to a whole host of other countries. Is this justified? Of course not. But it's the truth. If we're going to change others' perceptions of us, we're going to have to change our own behavior. Continuing the policies that got us into this position will only make things worse.

Jk80world
Jk80world

@TimCov: If you believe that pious religious followers are "sane," then he is not a "nut." He is doing exactly what the Quran commands its followers to do. He is being completely rational.

TimCov
TimCov

This person, like is all to often the case, is a lone nut. Depending on his beliefs, unless we all just magically started living how we thought we should live, he would have probably still been plotting against us. There are plenty of examples in the past of lone nuts seeking to attack the groups and/or individuals they perceive as their enemies (the Unibomber is an excellent example). Even if we suddenly changed to make this particular nut job happy, we would anger other nut jobs who would then attack us. Basing policy on the actions of lone nutjobs is a bad idea.

Jk80world
Jk80world

There is nothing for us to try. The Quran commands its followers to kill the unbelievers....see the Sura Al-Baqara (Sura of the Cow) for more information.

pak152
pak152

so what's the over/under for when CAIR issues a press release saying the guy was entrapped?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Is this a real deal or just another Set Up and bust ?

Jk80world
Jk80world

Just how does one go about "setting up" adults to procure nasty chemicals, post nasty messages online, and declare jihad on infidels? I'll tell you how...indoctrinate children with "religious theory."

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Don't mistake my question. If he is here to do us harm a fast Execution as a SPY or Saboteur is OK with me .Yesterday would have been nice .

But our guys seem to have this talent of providing them the means to to so I find bothersome,

Daniel
Daniel

So what's the over/under on how long it will take Hadi Jawad and John Wolf to stage a protest in support of this scumbag?

Jk80world
Jk80world

"Imagine a world with no religion" John Lennon

No
No

Terrorism was invented by anarchists, that is, people with no religion.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

the red flag for me here is a Saudi Student going to a college I've never heard of in West Texas. Well, he is from Saudi Arabia, so maybe he likes it that there's nothing out there but scrub brush.

Eupackardia
Eupackardia

and Bushes, don't forget the bushes...

Coleman
Coleman

The comments on the post about the Arlington mosque yesterday were all jokes and haw-haws...bet the tone'll be a whole lot different for this one.

Guest
Guest

Another attempted terrorist attack by a Saudi. Clearly this means we need to invade Iran.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I thought Saudi was short for South Dakota.

mikeyc2010
mikeyc2010

And this is why we need to stop issuing student visas to ANYONE.

And this is why we need to round up every last one of these heathens and ship them OUT of this country.

As for as this one goes, no trial, no judge, no jury -- just execute him.

TimCov
TimCov

So, you want us to become like those who attack us? You want us to give up our Constitution? If you do, the terrorists have won.

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