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Feds: Texas man indicted for attempting to provide support to al-Qaeda

By Jeanne Meserve and Carol Cratty, CNN
  • Feds say Texas man wanted to funnel money to mujahadeen
  • Suspect exchanged e-mails with radical cleric al-Awlaki, authorities say
  • Feds: Suspect had tried to leave U.S. three times but was stopped
  • Lawyer says suspect plans to plead not guilty

Washington (CNN) -- A Texas man was indicted Thursday for allegedly attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula after communicating with the U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, according to fedeal authorities.

Al-Awlaki has been connected to the alleged Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Nidal Hasan and to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged in the failed Christmas Day bombing of a passenger jet, and was investigated by the FBI for links with the 911 hijackers.

Authorities said 29-year-old Barry Bujol, from Hempstead, Texas, was arrested on Sunday.

A law enforcement official said, "We don't allege any plot against the U.S, but it is another guy who drank the Kool-Aid."

According to court documents, in 2008, Bujol exchanged emails with al-Awlaki asking how to funnel money to mujahadeen overseas. The government alleges that al-Awlaki provided Bujol with a document entitled "42 Ways of Supporting Jihad."

The law enforcement official says Bujol also asked al-Awlaki for advice on how to set up a jihadi website without being traced by law enforcement.

The official says Bujol used computers in the library at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, to communicate with the cleric, who is believed to be in Yemen.

Bujol is not accused of plotting to hit any U.S. targets, although the law enforcement official says he did talk with an informant about the possibility of targeting Air Force facilities in the United States where UAV's, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are piloted.

The government alleges that Bujol wanted to fight violent jihad and tried to leave the U.S. on three occasions but was stopped by law enforcement before he could do so.

According to the law enforcement official, on February 15 of this year he was scheduled to leave for Yemen, but was arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant.

On March 17, the official says, Bujol tried to make his way to the Middle East via Canada, but when he tried to cross into Windsor, Ontario, Canadian officials denied him entry.

The official says on March 25 Bujol was arrested in New Jersey for driving with a suspended license while en route to JFK Airport. The official says Bujol told authorities he was flying to the Middle East to learn Arabic and had in his possession a thumbdrive containing an al-Awlaki CD drive.

On Sunday, Bujol was arrested after a boarding a ship docked at a Houston-area port, authorities said.

The government alleges that he had materials which he had agreed to courier to the Middle East, including currency, pre-paid telephone calling cards, mobile telephone SIM cards, global positioning system receivers and public access-restricted U.S. military publications, including one involving UAV operations. According to the indictment, the items were provided by a confidential source helping in the investigation.

The law enforcement official said Bujol was unemployed but had worked for Hewlett Packard as a computer technician in 2004 and 2005.

Bujol's attorney, Joseph Varela, told CNN he was in the process of learning about the case and had no comment. He said his client intends to enter a plea of not guilty during an arraignment and detention hearing scheduled for next Tuesday