A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and life sentence for a Saudi Arabian student who plotted a series of attacks in 2011, including on targeting the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims by Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari that his sentence is excessive and that his trial was unfair due to the use of information gathered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Aldawsari, who came to the United States on a student visa in 2008, was charged in 2011 in connection with plots to attack President Bush's home, hydroelectric dams and nuclear plants. The nine-page opinion rejected all of the issues Aldawsari raised.
Court records show Aldawsari bought chemicals online to make an improvised explosive device (IED). Federal agents found finding bomb-making materials, including concentrated sulphuric and nitric acids, glass beakers and flasks, wiring, clocks, and a Hazmat suit during a search of his home. Agents also discovered a journal that showed that Aldawsari had been plotting a terrorist attack in the United States for years. An entry in the journal revealed that Aldawsari obtained a scholarship from a Saudi corporation to enable him to come to the United States and plot jihad. The scholarship "will help tremendously in providing me with the support I need for Jihad, God willing," he wrote. "And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for jihad."
A search of Aldawsari's computer showed potential targets for attack in the U.S., including details of three U.S. military personnel who had served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, names of dams in Colorado and California, and the President's Bush's Dallas address.