LUBBOCK, TX -- An appeals court has ruled against the man arrested in Lubbock and accused of plotting a terrorist attack, Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari. Aldawsari was arrested in February of 2011 after an FBI search of his Central Lubbock apartment.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said Friday, “[Aldawsari] had become committed to ‘jihadist operations’ and compiled a list of targets for bombing attacks. These targets included the Dallas residence of former President George Bush, the Cotton Bowl, and various Dallas festivals.”
Court records said Aldawsari had acquired the chemicals needed to make a bomb. A jury in Lubbock convicted Aldawsari on a one count of Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
On appeal his lawyers argued he lacked at least one key component for a bomb, and he had not chosen a specific target. The Fifth Circuit rejected those arguments.
Aldwasari’s lawyers also argued that prosecutors sidestepped his Fourth Amendment rights by using a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant. Defense attorneys were not allowed to review the details of the FISA warrant or how the warrant was justified.
The Fifth Circuit acknowledged there was no evidence that Aldawsari was acting as the agent of a foreign power. And yet, the Fifth Circuit upheld the use of the FISA warrant - saying at the time prosecutors had reason to believe Aldawsari might have been acting for a foreign power such an international terrorist group.
The Fifth Circuit ruling said, “Such searches must be at least partially motivated by a purpose ‘to protect the nation against terrorists and espionage threats directed by foreign powers.’”
“So long as this requirement is satisfied, according to a number of circuit courts, there is no constitutional bar to the admission of evidence collected pursuant to FISA in criminal prosecutions.”
The Fifth Circuit also found that U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings did not abuse his discretion by sentencing Aldawsari to life in prison.