A Saudi man accused of planning a series of terror attacks across the U.S. including one against former President George W. Bush was found guilty today in a federal court in Amarillo.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who was legally in the U.S. on a student visa, was arrested in February 2011 after federal agents secretly searched his apartment near Texas Tech University in Lubbock and found bomb-making chemicals, wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks.
Authorities also discovered Aldawsari’s journal, handwritten in Arabic, in which he wrote he’d been planning a terror attack in the U.S. for years and that it was ‘time for jihad,’ or holy war, court documents showed.
He faces up to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9 in Amarillo.
After the jury left the courtroom Wednesday, Aldawsari, 22, sat with his attorneys before being led off by U.S. Marshals.
His attorneys claimed that because Aldawsari didn’t have a bomb made or a target pinpointed, he couldn’t have attempted to use a bomb.
‘It’s always disappointing when you lose but at the same time, it was a very difficult case at the outset,’ said defense attorney Dan Cogdell.
‘We did the best we could under the circumstances.’
Cogdell said Aldawsari is likely to appeal the verdict at some point. He described his client as ‘the antithesis of what you’d expect him to be.’
On Feb. 1, 2011, Carolina Biological Supply of Burlington, N.C., a chemical company, reported a suspicious $435 order by Aldawsari to the FBI.
Separately, Con-way Freight, the shipping company, notified Lubbock police and the FBI the same day with similar suspicions because it appeared the order wasn’t intended for commercial use.
Diego G. Rodriguez, the FBI special agent in charge for the region, credited both companies for calling authorities.
‘You have our deepest and everlasting respect and gratitude for calling the FBI when you learned that the chemicals ordered and shipped were suspicious,’ said Rodriguez.
Within weeks, federal agents had traced Aldawsari’s other online purchases, discovered extremist Internet posts and secretly searched his off-campus apartment, computer and email accounts and read his diary, according to court records.
President Barack Obama was notified about the plot before Aldawsari’s arrest.