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Saudi National Convicted on WMD Charge in Texas Terror Case

A federal jury in Texas on Wednesday found a Saudi man guilty of plotting to bomb key U.S. locations such as atomic energy sites, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, June 21).

Former Texas Tech University chemical engineering student Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari faces a possible life prison term at sentencing in October after being convicted of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Jury deliberation in the case took less than two hours.

The 22-year-old man was apprehended in early 2011 following a probe of his West Texas residence by FBI agents who unearthed ingredients and instructions for making bombs as well as study material on potential targets such as ex-President George W. Bush's Dallas house.

Defense attorneys admitted that Aldawsari would have liked to carry out the attacks but that any plot never progressed seriously. Lawyer Dan Cogdell said his client never implemented the "substantial step" necessary for a guilty verdict.

"He's a failure academically. He's a failure at relationships," Cogdell said.

Justice attorney Jeffrey Haag, however, said Aldawsari had been plotting to carry out attacks on the United States "for a very, very, very long time."

"It just didn't happen overnight, on impulse," Haag said.

"His focus was on jihad and he was marching down that road," prosecutor Denise Williams said.

Cogdell criticized federal attorneys for using jurors' fears of a terrorist attack to sway them against the reality of the situation. "Let's scare them. Let's tell them about what could have happened," he said on Wednesday (Betsy Blaney, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, June 27).

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