AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — A Saudi-born college student was sentenced to life in prison in the U.S. on Tuesdayfor trying to make a bomb to carry out jihad.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari had been convicted in June of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Prosecutors said Aldawsari collected bomb-making material and researched possible targets, including the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.
"I am sorry for these bad actions, but none of these bad actions did harm to the United States," Aldawsari told the judge Tuesday.
The 22-year-old came to the U.S. legally to study chemical engineering in Texas. He was arrested in 2011, after federal agents secretly searched his apartment and found explosive chemicals, wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks, along with videos showing how to make the chemical explosive TNP.
Court records show that Aldawsari had successfully ordered 30 liters of nitric acid and 3 gallons (11 liters) of concentrated sulfuric acid in December 2010.
Prosecutors said other targets he researched included nuclear power plants and the homes of three former soldiers who were stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Aldawsari wrote in his journal that he had been planning a terror attack in the U.S. for years, even before he came to the country on a scholarship, and that it was "time for jihad," according to court documents. He bemoaned the plight of Muslims and said he was influenced by Osama bin Laden's speeches.
His attorneys acknowledged that their client had intent, but they argued that he was a harmless failure who never came close to attacking anyone.