More evidence shown at Texas bomb plot trial
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — The Saudi man accused of gathering materials to make a bomb with the goal of targeting sites across the United States kept an instructional video on explosives in his West Texas apartment and wrote about how he wanted to pursue “missions to please God,” authorities testified Tuesday.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a former Texas Tech chemical engineering student, is charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors presented a third day of testimony Tuesday.
During an FBI agent’s testimony, authorities showed videos they said they found on a flash drive in Aldawsari’s apartment. One showed a masked man speaking in Arabic about the chemicals needed to create picric acid, an explosive. Other agents have testified Aldawsari sought — and failed — to obtain one of the three chemicals, phenol.
“Following these steps, you would get picric acid,” said Robert Mothershead, an FBI forensic examiner, in describing the video.
Authorities also shared some of Aldawsari’s alleged writings. They said he kept the recipe for picric acid in several emails and journal entries. In one entry, Aldawsari said he was close to obtaining phenol and had gotten other necessary items, “so I may use them in missions to please God.”
Federal agents secretly searched Aldawsari’s apartment in Lubbock twice last year and say they found almost everything needed to build a bomb, including chemicals, beakers, flasks, wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks, which he had bought online.
Agents say they also uncovered handwritten journals, recordings and online postings suggesting Aldawsari had long planned to launch an attack in the U.S. and that potential targets included dams, nuclear plants and the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.
Aldawsari, 22, faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.