AMARILLO, Texas (CN) – A Texas college student will serve life in prison for his plan to bomb the Dallas home of President George W. Bush, among other targets.
A federal jury convicted 22-year-old Saudi Arabian citizen Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari in June for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
U.S. District Judge Donald Walter sentenced Aldawsari to life imprisonment on Tuesday.
Aldawsari reportedly told the judge: “I am sorry for these bad actions, but none of these bad actions did harm to the United States.”
As a student, Aldawsari studied English as a second language, and then transferred to Texas Tech University where he majored in chemical engineering. 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 the 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.
“This case, in which private citizens paid attention to details and notified authorities of their suspicions, serves as a reminder to all private citizens that we must always be observant and vigilant, as there are some who intend to cause great harm,” U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana, of the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement.
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