According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari (left), the 20-year-old jihadist, pleaded not guilty in federal court yesterday morning. A U.S. magistrate, the paper reported, set trial. If convicted, the Saudi national could land in prison for life.
The FBI collared the "student" in February after long-term surveillance revealed his nefarious and complicated plan to attack targets across the United States. Aldawsari, who unbosomed his hatred at a blog and on a Facebook account, himself tipped off the government by ordering explosive chemicals from a biological supply company.
Aldawsari entered the United States on a student visa in September 2008 and was enrolled at South Plains College in Lubbock, Texas, where he took classes in chemical engineering, the FBI says. The Saudi Royals bankrolled his tuition, living and medical expenses through a scholarship.
The affidavit detailing the reason for his arrest, the FBI reported in a prepared release, showed that "Aldawsari has been researching online how to construct an IED [improvised explosive device] 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.
Aldawsari used a debit card to purchase 10 500-millimeter bottles of concentrated phenol, a chemical that can be used to make highly explosive trinitrophenol, or picric acid. He didn't get very far. The shipment was sent via FedEx to a trucking company in Lubbock. Both the chemical supplier and the trucking company notified authorities.
When the FBI raided his apartment, it learned that Aldawsari had emailed himself a recipe on making picric acid, along with directions on booby-trapping a car using household items and turning a cell phone into a remote bomb detonator. He also purchased items that clearly show he was ready to wage jihad against the United States, the FBI alleged: “a gas mask, a Hazmat suit, a soldering iron kit, glass beakers and flasks, wiring, a stun gun, clocks, and a battery tester.”
As well, the affidavit says, 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.”
Explaining His Plans
The Saudi "student" also left a long trail of documentary evidence.
He planned to hit "nice targets," he wrote in emails to himself. Those targets included hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. He also intended to attack the home of George W. Bush in Dallas, which he labeled "Tyrant's House." He even plotted to strike former military officers who were stationed at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison facility in Bagdhad, Iraq.
At his blog, FromFarAway90, Aldawsari implored Allah to “grant me [martyrdom] for Your sake and make jihad easy for me only in Your path.” He also used Facebook to ventilate his blind rage against the United States.
Photo: Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, is shown in this undated photo made available by the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, Feb. 24, 2011: AP Images