Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, terror suspect 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON — A young college student from Saudi Arabia studying chemical engineering in the state of Texas purchased explosive chemicals over the Internet as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former US president George W. Bush, the US Justice Department said Thursday.
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"It is war ... until the infidels leave defeated," the student wrote in online postings.
One of the chemical companies, Carolina Biological Supply, reported
suspicious purchases by Khalid Ali Aldawsari, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, to
the FBI on Feb. 1. Within weeks, federal agents had traced his other
online purchases, discovered extremist posts he made on the Internet and
secretly searched his apartment, computer and e-mail accounts and read
his diary, according to court records.
Aldawsari, who was legally in the US on a student visa, was expected to
appear in federal court on Friday. He was charged Thursday with
attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Aldawsari entered the US
in October 2008 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to study chemical engineering
at Texas Tech University, then transferred earlier this year to nearby
South Plains College.
The terrorism case against Aldawsari was significant because it
demonstrated that radicalized foreigners can live quietly in the US
heartland without raising suspicions from neighbors, classmates,
teachers or others. But it also showed how quickly US law enforcement
can move when tipped that a terrorist plot may be unfolding.
The White House said US President Barack Obama was notified about the
plot prior to Aldawsari's arrest Wednesday. "This arrest once again
underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here
and abroad," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement
In e-mails Aldawsari apparently sent himself, he listed the names of 12
reservoir dams in Colorado and California. He also wrote an e-mail that
mentioned "Tyrant's House" with the address of Bush's home. The FBI's
affidavit said he considered using infant dolls to hide explosives and
was possibly targeting a nightclub with a backpack filled with
The FBI said the North Carolina company reported the attempts to
purchase phenol, a chemical that can be used to make the explosive
trinitrophenol, also known as TNP, or picric acid. Aldawsari falsely
told the supplier he was associated with a university and wanted the
phenol for "off-campus, personal research," according to court records.
But frustrated by questions, Aldawsari canceled his order and later
e-mailed himself instructions for producing phenol. Prosecutors said
that in December 2010, he successfully purchased concentrated nitric and
sulfuric acids that are combined to make TNP.
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