A Saudi Arabian college student has been arrested in Texas and charged with planning terror attacks in America. Among the targets was the home of former President George W. Bush.
Khalid Ali Aldawasari was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly buying explosive chemicals online as part of a plot to attack key U.S. targets. The Justice Department said he planned to hide them inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants and the former president's home.
The plot was discovered after the Carolina Biological Supply chemical firm in Burlington, North Carolina reported Aldawasari's $435 order – which raised red flags at the company – to the FBI on February 1. The shipping company, Con-way Freight, also notified authorities – the FBI and Lubbock police – when it appeared the chemicals were not headed for a commercial destination.
Court records indicated that federal agents began tracing the student's Internet activity, including his online purchases, and extremist posts he made. They secretly searched his apartment, computer and email accounts, and read his diary as well.
According to prosecutors, Aldawasari described in his journal a plan to plant bombs in several rental cars strategically located in New York City. The car bombs were to be remotely detonated during rush hour. The student wrote in his journal, “After mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for jihad.”
The 20-year-old Texas Tech student was charged with attempted of a weapon of mass destruction. He was ordered by Judge Nancy Koenig at his arraignment in a Lubbock classroom last Friday to remain in custody until a March 11 detention hearing.
Aldawasari, legally residing in the U.S. on a student visa, was represented by attorney Rob Hobson. In a statement to the Associated Press, Hobson noted that “the eyes of the world are on this case.” After reminding reporters that in the U.S., “everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, due process, effective representation of counsel and a fair trial,” Hobson said Aldawasari will plead not guilty.
If convicted, the chemical engineering student could be sentenced to life in prison.