Story highlights

Prosecutors say a Texas man thought he was working with an al Qaeda recruiter

The "recruiter" was a confidential source for law enforcement

Barry Walter Bujol Jr was convicted Monday on terror charges

He faces up to 20 years in prison


A Texas man who had been communicating with Yemeni-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki about jihad was convicted Monday on terror charges.

Barry Walter Bujol Jr. was found guilty of attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and of aggravated identity theft.

Bujol was arrested on May 30, 2010, after he used a fraudulent identity card to get into the port of Houston to board and stow away on a ship he thought was bound for Algeria. Prosecutors said Bujol then intended to travel on to Yemen to fight for AQAP.

Bujol, a 30-year old U.S. citizen, had been coordinating his plans with a man he thought was a recruiter for AQAP but who in reality was acting as a confidential source for law enforcement.

According to prosecutors, Bujol had been in e-mail communication with al-Awlaki and had asked his advice on how to raise money for the “mujahideen” without attracting the attention of police, and also inquired about his duty as a Muslim to make “violent jihad.” The government said al-Awlaki sent Bujol a document called “42 Ways of Supporting Jihad,” which advises Muslims to undergo firearms training, become physically fit to take part in guerrilla warfare and to conduct “violent jihad.”

Al-Awlaki was killed by a CIA drone strike in late September.

A press release issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of Texas says Bujol performed a number of purported training exercises to prove his worth to his AQAP “recruiter,” such as performing surveillance. Bujol also sent the “recruiter” military manuals and articles about unmanned aerial vehicles that he had found on the Internet and said would be useful to the terrorist organization.

Bujol repeatedly told his contact, “AQAP should attack the human beings essential to operate the UAV’s instead of attacking the UAV’s themselves” and suggested targets including one in Texas, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

On the same day Bujol was arrested, law enforcement agents searched his apartment and found a home-made video on his laptop computer that included images of Osama bin Laden. In the video, which was entered into evidence, Bujol’s voice is heard addressing his wife and saying he had left suddenly to pursue jihad and probably would not see her again until the afterlife.

Bujol asked for a bench trial in which the judge would render a decision rather than a jury. He acted as his own attorney but did not present witnesses or testify on his own behalf. Bujol faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced