AMARILLO, Texas (CN) – A federal jury convicted a terrorist plotter who planned to attack the Dallas home of President George W. Bush with weapons of mass destruction.
The jury convicted Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 22, on Wednesday at the end of a four-day trial.
Aldawsari, a Saudi Arabian citizen, transferred to Texas Tech University and majored in chemical engineering after studying English as a second language. Shortly before his arrest, he had moved on to the business program at South Plains College.
An affidavit filed with the government’s criminal complaint explains that a chemical supplier tipped off the FBI when Aldawsari tried to buy phenol, an ingredient in explosives.
Aldawsari claimed to be associated with Texas Tech and told the supplier he was conducting “off-campus, personal research,” according to an affidavit. Prosecutors say Aldawsari became upset from all the questions regarding his purchase, and he eventually canceled the order.
The FBI says its electronic surveillance of Aldawsari revealed that he emailed himself information on explosives and various targets. His alleged targets included the Bush home, hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants.
During a search of Aldawsari’s apartment, the FBI allegedly found chemicals and other materials used to create explosives. The affidavit says the FBI also found a journal that described his plans to carry out terrorist attacks.
Earlier this month an appellate panel from the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit refused to remove a gag order that prevented the parties in the case from communicating with the media.
Sentencing for Aldawsari will take place as soon as Sept. 11.