(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - A Saudi Arabian chemical engineering student is scheduled to appear in a Texas court Friday to face charges that he plotted to bomb dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.
Prosecutors say that 20-year-old Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who lives in Lubbock, was charged Thursday with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. They say he purchased explosive chemicals over the Internet as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages.
Investigators were alerted to the alleged plot by chemical company Carolina Biological Supply, who reported attempts by Aldawsari to purchase phenol, a chemical that can be used to make the explosive trinitrophenol, also known as TNP, or picric acid.
Aldawsari falsely told the supplier he was associated with a university and wanted the phenol for "off-campus, personal research," according to court records. But frustrated by questions, Aldawsari canceled his order and later e-mailed himself instructions for producing phenol. Suspicious purchases by Aldawsari were reported to the FBI on Feb. 1.
Within weeks, federal agents had traced his other online purchases, discovered extremist posts he made on the Internet and secretly searched his apartment, computer and e-mail accounts and read his diary, according to court records.
"It is war...until the infidels leave defeated," read one post, according to investigators.
Aldawsari entered the U.S. in 2008 to study at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He transferred this year to nearby South Plains College.
According to the FBI affidavit, Aldawsari apparently sent himself email where he listed the names of 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California. He also wrote an e-mail that mentioned "Tyrant's House" with the address of George W. Bush's home.
Prosecutors said that in December 2010, he successfully purchased concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids that are combined to make TNP.
The White House said President Barack Obama was notified about the plot prior to Aldawsari's arrest Wednesday. "This arrest once again underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement Thursday.