Could Lubbock's nationally-known terror suspect be connected to a "foreign power?" The newest court records repeatedly refer to Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari as the "agent of a foreign power" but do not specify how.
Prosecutors filed a 45-page document Wednesday in Lubbock federal court saying, "The Government was 'in good faith pursuing foreign intelligence gathering."
Aldawsari was arrested in February, and accused of Attempted Use of Weapon of Mass Destruction. Court records say Aldawsari had acquired the raw materials needed for a chemical bomb in his Central Lubbock apartment. Court records also say his intended targets included hydro-electric dams, night clubs, and the home of former President George W. Bush.
In the days before his arrest, the FBI searched Aldawsari's apartment with a FISA order. FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The defense in recent months has asked to see the paperwork leading up to the FISA order, which is classified and sealed.
In order to see classified material, Aldawsari's defense team has to prove that federal investigators lied. However, if investigators filed documents that were "false or misleading," the evidence is classified and Aldawsari's attorneys are not allowed to see it. Prosecutors quote previous court cases as saying, "This perceived practical impossibility to obtain a hearing, however, does not constitute a legal impossibility."
Prosecutors say Aldawsari is not even entitled to a hearing before the judge on this matter. "The Attorney General has filed a declaration in this case stating that disclosure or an adversary hearing would harm the national security of the United States."
Court records are clear that Aldawsari, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, had financial backing from a Saudi-based corporation for his travel to the U.S. and college tuition, first at Texas Tech, and later at South Plains College. The name of the corporation has been omitted from the criminal complaint against Aldawsari.
A "foreign power" has seven definitions in FISA, including terrorist organizations. However, none of the seven definitions seem to be consistent with a single individual acting alone. So who or what is the foreign power? Tuesday's court filing does not say.
In March, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings issued a gag order preventing government officials or defense attorneys from communicating with the news media. So, KCBD NewsChannel 11 is not allowed to ask what these latest court records mean.
Aldawsari remains locked up in the Lubbock County Jail until his trial, which is scheduled for January 9th. If convicted, he faces a possible life sentence.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.