A Saudi national living in Texas was arrested Wednesday for allegedly researching and acquiring chemicals to make a bomb, authorities said Thursday.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, of Lubbock is accused of researching several possible targets, including the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, and nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams.
Aldawsari was arrested in Lubbock on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device, according to the Justice Department.
Aldawsari is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Lubbock on Friday morning, the Department of Justice said.
According to court records, Aldawsari has been researching online how to construct an improvised explosive device, or IED, using several chemicals as ingredients. He has also "acquired or taken a substantial step toward acquiring most of the ingredients and equipment" needed for the bomb.
Authorities said Aldawsari described his desire for violent jihad and martyrdom in blog postings and a personal journal.
Aldawsari conducted research on various targets and e-mailed himself information on these locations and people, the Department of Justice said.
"As alleged in the complaint, Aldawsari purchased ingredients to construct an explosive device and was actively researching potential targets in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, this plot was thwarted before it could advance further," said David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security. "This case serves as another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad."
Factbox: Details of Bomb Plot in U.S. by Saudi National
* Khalid Aldawsari was born in Saudi Arabia on April 24, 1990, and came to the United States on a student visa in September 2008. He took English language classes for a year and attended Texas Tech University where he majored in chemical engineering from August 2009 until last month. He then transferred to South Plains College to major in business.
* FBI agents received on February 1 a tip from a chemical supply company, Carolina Biological Supply in North Carolina, after Aldawsari tried to order 10 500-ml bottles of concentrated phenol, a chemical that can be used to make the explosive picric acid. A freight company also called police after he tried to have the chemicals delivered there.
* After receiving the tips, the FBI conducted an authorized review of his e-mail communications and a surreptitious search of his Texas apartment. They discovered he had successfully bought nitric acid and sulfuric acid, other materials to build a bomb, obtained directions on how to turn a cell phone into a remote detonator, and had drawn up lists of potential targets.
* FBI agents also found journal belonging to Aldawsari in which he said that he had planned to commit an attack inside the United States for years and that he was inspired by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's speeches. He also listed in the journal the steps he needed to take to carry out an attack, including getting fake U.S. documents, renting cars and placing the vehicles with bombs in them at different locations during rush hour.
* The list of targets for his alleged plot included the address in Dallas for former President George W. Bush, 12 reservoirs and dams in California and Colorado, nuclear power plants, New York City and a Dallas night club. He also researched baby accessories like a stroller, diapers and a doll as a possible way to conceal explosives or weapons