Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Lubbock terrorist checked out New York spots in his alleged terror plot.
NEW YORK POST:
The Saudi student charged with an Osama bin Laden-inspired bomb plot visited several New York City landmarks last year to scope out potential targets, law-enforcement sources told The Post yesterday.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, the 20-year-old accused of stockpiling chemicals for his planned attacks, snapped photos of the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Wall Street while posing as a tourist during his four-day trip, the sources said.
Aldawsari -- a die-hard fan of the bloody "Resident Evil" video games -- traveled to the Big Apple alone. He also studied live feeds from New York City's street and traffic cameras.
The one-time Texas Tech chemical-engineering major hoped to construct improvised explosive devices out of dolls, and then place them in strollers and set them off around the perpetually crowded sites, prosecutors said.
Aldawsari also dreamed of bombing dams, a nightclub and the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.
He was arrested Wednesday in Lubbock after a chemical supplier tipped off the feds. Law enforcement seized photographs of the New York trip from his apartment, sources said.
Aldawsari, who appeared in court yesterday handcuffed and in leg shackles, faces life in prison if convicted of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
He plans to plead not guilty when he returns to court on March 11, said his lawyer, Rod Hobson.
"This is America, where everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, due process, effective representation of trial and a fair trial," Hobson noted.
Classmates of Aldawsari -- who prosecutors say was inspired by bin Laden's rhetoric as a boy in
Saudi Arabia -- described him as a loner.
He sporadically posted on his blog, "FromFarAway," an odd mix of Arabic prayers and wishes for martyrdom, and mused about watching "Resident Evil" trailers on YouTube.
While studying English as a second language at Vanderbilt University, he fell in love with his conversation partner, Sarah Rice Stender, a 58-year-old former professor of medicine at the Nashville, Tenn., school.
"She is [so] gorgeous that I can't forget her just right away . . . I am asking Allah the Great to convert her to Islam and marry me," he wrote in 2009.
Stender did not return a call for comment.
Sally Diastole, a senior who lived in the same off-campus apartment as Aldawsari, recalled that whenever she said hi to him, "he just never really acknowledged or responded."
She said her friends sometimes "ding-dong ditched" his apartment as a prank, ringing his bell before quickly running away.
Additional reporting by Jon Arnold in Lubbock, Texas
Posted by Steve Douglass at 5:27 AM