The FBI has arrested a 20-year-old Saudi national on charges he tried to use a weapon of mass destruction and potentially targeted former president George W Bush, the US Justice Department said yesterday.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who entered the United States in 2008 on a student visa, was arrested in Texas on Wednesday. He was accused of buying chemicals and equipment to make an improvised explosive device.
The FBI received a report on 1 February from a chemical supplier about an attempt by Mr Aldawsari to buy concentrated phenol, which has legitimate uses but can also can be used to make the explosive trinitrophenol, known as picric acid.
The shipment was sent to a freight company but the firm returned it to the supplier and called police, the Justice Department said. Mr Aldawsari told the supplier he was connected to a university and was doing "off-campus, personal research".
He was accused of making lists of targets that included nuclear power plants and one email included the Dallas address of Mr Bush. If convicted, Mr Aldawsari faces life in prison.
A Justice Department official said the suspect was apparently acting alone – there was no evidence he was part of a militant group. US officials have been increasingly concerned about people acting alone to launch attacks in the US.Reuse content