Texas Resident Arrested on Charge of Attempted Use of Weapon of Mass Destruction
Suspect Allegedly Purchased Bomb Materials and Rese arched U.S. Targets
WASHINGTON – Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested late y esterday by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a w eapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemic als and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) an d his research of potential U.S. targets.
The arrest and the criminal com plaint, which was unsealed in the Northern District of Texas, were announce d by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas; and Robert E. Cas ey Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas Field Division.
Aldawsa ri is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Lubbock a t 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Aldawsari, who was lawfully admitted i nto the United States in 2008 on a student visa and is enrolled at South Pl ains 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 destructio n.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Aldawsar i has been researching online how to construct an IED using several chemica ls as ingredients. He has also acquired or taken a substantial step toward acquiring most of the ingredients and equipment necessary to co nstruct an IED and he has conducted online research of several potential U. S. targets, the affidavit alleges. In addition, he has allegedl y described his desire for violent jihad and martyrdom in blog postings and a personal journal.
“As alleged in the complaint, Aldawsari purcha sed ingredients to construct an explosive device and was actively researchi ng potential targets in the United States. Thanks to the effort s of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, this plot was thwarted before i t could advance further,” said Assistant Attorney General Kris. ̶ 0;This case serves as another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad.”
“Yesterday’s arrest demonstra tes the need for and the importance of vigilance and the willingness of pri vate 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. & nbsp; 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 wo rk 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 resp ect and gratitude,” said U.S. Attorney Jacks.
“This arrest a nd criminal charge is a result of the success of the FBI's counterterrorism strategy, which is to detect, penetrate, and disrupt terrorist plots in th e United States and against U.S. interests abroad. In this case , FBI Agents and other FBI experts worked tirelessly to neutralize the immi nent 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 p>
The affida vit 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 t o make picric acid, or T.N.P., are concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids.& nbsp;
Aldawsari allegedly attempted to have the phenol order shipp ed 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 univ ersity and wanted the phenol for “off-campus, personal research.̶ 1; Frustrated by questions being asked over his phenol order, A ldawsari cancelled his order and later e-mailed himself instructions for pr oducing phenol. The affidavit alleges that in December 2010, he succe ssfully purchased concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids.
According to th e affidavit, legally authorized electronic surveillance revealed that Aldaw sari used various e-mail accounts in researching explosives and targets, an d 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 con tained information on the material required for Nitro Urea, how to prepare it, and the advantages of using it.
The affidavit alleges th at Aldawsari also e-mailed himself instructions on how to convert a cellula r phone into a remote detonator and how to prepare a booby-trapped vehicle using items available in every home. One e-mail allegedly conta ined a message stating that “one operation in the land of the infidel s is equal to ten operations against occupying forces in the land of the Mu slims.” During December 2010 and January 2011, Aldawsari allegedly pu rchased 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 batter y tester.
Searches of Aldawsari’s Residence< p class="MsoNormal">
Two legally a uthorized searches of Aldawsari’s apartment conducted by the FBI in F ebruary 2011 indicated that the concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids; the beakers and flasks; wiring; Hazmat suit; and clocks were present in Aldaws ari’s residence.
FBI agents also found a notebook at A ldawsari’s residence that appeared to be a diary or journal. According to the affidavit, excerpts from the journal indicate that Ald awsari had been planning to commit a terrorist attack in the United States for years. One entry describes how Aldawsari sought and obtained a pa rticular scholarship because it allowed him to come directly to the United State and helped him financially, which he said “will help tremendous ly in providing me with the support I need for Jihad.” Th e entry continues: “And now, after mastering the English language, le arning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infide l 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 obtai ning a forged U.S. birth certificate; renting a car; using different driver ’s licenses for each car rented; putting bombs in cars and taking the m to different places during rush hour; and leaving the city for a safe pla ce.
Research on Potential Targets
According to the affidavit, Al dawsari conducted research on various targets and e-mailed himself informat ion on these locations and people. One of the documents h e sent himself, with the subject line listed as “Targets,” alle gedly 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 ti me at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In another e-mail titled “NICE TAR GETS 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: hyd roelectric dams and nuclear power plants. On Feb. 6, 2011, the affidavit alleges, Aldawsari sent himself an e-mail titled “Tyrant 217;s House,” in which he listed the Dallas address for former Presid ent George W. Bush. The affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari c onducted research that could indicate his consideration of the use of infan t dolls to conceal explosives and possible targeting of a nightclub with an explosive concealed in a backpack.
The affidavit also alleges that Aldaw sari created a blog in which he posted extremist messages. In o ne 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, 8221; he wrote.
This case was investigated by the FBI’ s Dallas Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance from the Lubbock Polic e 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 Nationa l Security Division.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The person in question is a student at South Plains Colle ge, near Lubbock, TX
11-235 National Security Division
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