U.S. Attorney General intervenes in Lubbock criminal case
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
United States Attorney General Eric Holder has personally intervened in the criminal case against a Lubbock resident, Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 21.
Holder signed a document on October 25th that was filed in Lubbock federal court on Monday. Holder claims that if classified material is made public in the Aldawsari case it "...reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security of the United States."
Aldawsari is accused of assembling the material needed for a chemical bomb in his Central Lubbock apartment. Court records say his proposed targets included the home of former President George W. Bush. Other targets included hydro electric dams and night clubs. Court records also say his writings included a desire for jihad.
He was arrested in February, after FBI agents searched his apartment on the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA for short.
Last week prosecutors filed a document that refers to Aldawsari as the "agent of a foreign power." But court records do not identify the foreign power. Aldawsari is native to Saudi Arabia and court records have previously said his college studies in Lubbock, both at Texas Tech and at South Plains College, were sponsored by a Saudi corporation.
Is this corporation the foreign power? Court records do not say and federal officials are forbidden to communicate about the case with the news media by U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings.
A question has been raised before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals as to whether or not the Constitutionally-protected free speech of all federal officials such as members of Congress or U.S. Senators can be summarily suspended by a federal judge, especially when such officials have no direct involvement in the Aldawsari case.
Meanwhile defense attorneys claim that Aldawsari's rights are being violated. They claim they should be allowed to inspect the FISA documents that led to the search of Aldawsari's apartment and ultimately his arrest. But these documents have been classified.
Holder, in the October 25th document, asks the judge to not allow the defense to see the foreign intelligence documents. However, Holder is clear that he wants the evidence to still be available to prosecutors at trial.
Holder goes on to ask the judge to not let Aldawsari have a public hearing before the court on whether or not evidence can be excluded.
Holder says, "The FISA materials contain sensitive and classified information concerning United States intelligence sources and methods and other information related to efforts of the United States to conduct counterterrorism investigations..."
Holder submitted the classified documents to the judge but asked the judge to keep them secret and ultimately return them to the Department of Justice.
Aldawsari goes on trial in January, facing potentially life in prison. Until then he remains locked up.