FBI Arrests Lubbock Resident on Terrorism Charges [UPDATED]

Aldawsari

A Lubbock resident is now in custody following a terrorism charge. 20-year-old Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, was arrested yesterday by the FBI on a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. These charges come in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device, or IED.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the suspect had been researching online how to construct an IED, and had acquired or tried to acquire most of the ingredients needed to make the weapon of mass destruction. The Department of Justice also alleges the suspect has researched possible targets, and written about his desire for violent jihad and martyrdom. Aldawsari faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Investigators believe he was planning to target former President George W. Bush. He entered the U.S. in 2008 on a student visa. Federal authorities say that Aldawsari’s diary indicated that he had been plotting an attack for years, and obtained a scholarship so he could come directly to the U.S. to carry out Jihad. He is expected to appear in Federal Court in Lubbock on Friday morning.

Screenshot from Aldawsari's Facebook Profile

The Special Agent in charge of the FBI Dallas Field Office made a statement about the arrest at this morning’s Lubbock City Council meeting, and recognized the Lubbock Police Department’s role in this case.

Special Agent Robert Casey said “It’s the only case of its type currently underway in the FBI, in terms of an insider threat inside the country…in all the discussions around the country about the FBI and police partnership in national security, there’s no better example than this case over the last 48 hours and a few weeks ago, when suspicious activity came to the Lubbock PD’s attention, and they consulted with us immediately, allowing us to preserve certain covert investigative opportunities that ultimately neutralized what was absolutely a planned act of terrorism in the United States.”

Aldawsari, a former Texas Tech student, was attending South Plains College this semester. SPC released a statement this morning saying that there was “no threat to any of our campus locations”, and that Aldawsari is a transfer student who has only been at SPC for six weeks.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer also issued a statement on Aldawsari’s arrest, expressing his appreciation of both the FBI and Lubbock law enforcement. Neugebauer said “we must remain alert and aware everywhere, including Lubbock, Texas, because terrorism isn’t just a New York City or Washington D.C. threat.”

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