WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Saudi-born student was arrested in Texas on Wednesday on charges he plotted to build and detonate bombs inside the United States. Following are details about him and the alleged plot from an FBI affidavit released on Thursday by the Justice Department.
* 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.
Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Cynthia Osterman