A Saudi Arabian student attending South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, has been convicted of planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States with the use of weapons of mass destruction.
Khalid Ali Aldawsari, 22, entered the United States in 2008 on a (legal) student visa. He began his studies in chemical engineering at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and moved to South Plains in 2011 to study business.
Aldawsari’s education and expenses were being paid for by a Saudi industrial company.
Federal agents were able to nab Aldawsari after a chemical company notified the F.B.I. of a suspicious order in February, 2011. Carolina Biological Supply of Burlington, N.C., received a $435 order from Aldawsari of TNP, a chemical explosive similar to TNT. Bomb experts at the F.B.I. said the amount Aldawsari ordered was equivalent to each bomb used in the London subway attacks of 2005.
The same day the F.B.I. received the tip Carolina Biological Supply, they were also contacted by Con-way Freight, the shipping company, who also became suspicion since it appeared to them that the order wasn't meant for commercial use.
Federal agents who secretly searched Aldawsari’s apartment found the TNP, as well as wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks. They also found Aldawsari’s handwritten journal in Arabic, where he wrote that he had been planning a terror attack in the U.S. for years, saying it was “time for jihad.” Aldawsari had also searched internet sites as to how to make bombs and carry out attacks.
During the trial, Denise Williams, the prosecutor, accused Aldawsari based on evidence of “marching down that road” to an attack since he was 11 years old, and said that Aldawsari's intention of entering the U.S. as a student was for the sole purpose of carrying out a terorist attack.
A federal judge recently rejected Aldawsari’s appeal for a new trial. He is set to be sentenced Oct. 9. His offense carries a possible life sentence.