Saudi Student Arrested In Plot To Bomb Bush Home
MSNBC.COM - U.S. authorities have arrested a 20-year-old Saudi national on charges he tried to use a weapon of mass destruction and potentially targeted former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Thursday.
FBI agents arrested Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who was admitted into the United States in 2008 on a student visa, in Texas on Wednesday. The Justice Department accuses him of purchasing chemicals and equipment to make an improvised explosive device.
Aldawsari, a chemical engineering student at South Plains College near Lubbock, allegedly referred to Bush's Dallas home as a "tyrant's house" and possibly contemplated using dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Bush home in Dallas, the Justice Department said.
"It is war ... until the infidels leave defeated," the student wrote in online postings.
Aldawsari entered the U.S. 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 U.S. heartland without raising suspicions from neighbors, classmates, teachers or others. But it also showed how quickly U.S. law enforcement can move when tipped that a terrorist plot may be unfolding.
The White House said President Barack Obama was notified about the plot before 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 Thursday.
Aldawsari allegedly sent himself a series of emails identifying possible targets, including the homes of three U.S. military troops who had served at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and reservoir dams in Colorado and California.
An affidavit filed in support of the government's claims said Aldawsari appeared to be training himself how to create detonators and bombs using household items and commercially available scientific supplies.
Two searches of his apartment conducted by the FBI this month turned up "concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids; the beakers and flasks; wiring; Hazmat suit; and clocks," the DOJ statement said.