Ahmed Omar Abu Ali Charged With Plot to Assassinate Bush

Man Charged With Plot to Assassinate Bush (Fox News – AP)

A former Virginia high school valedictorian who had been detained in Saudi Arabia as a suspected terrorist was charged Tuesday with conspiring to assassinate President Bush and with supporting the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen, made an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court but did not enter a plea. He contended that he was tortured while detained in Saudi Arabia since June of 2003 and offered through his lawyer to show the judge his scars.

The federal indictment said that in 2002 and 2003 Abu Ali and an unidentified co-conspirator discussed plans for Abu Ali to assassinate Bush. They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said, one in which Abu Ali “would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street” and, alternatively, “an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb.”
Abu Ali was born in Houston and moved to Falls Church, Va., where he was valedictorian of his high school class. Federal prosecutors say Abu Ali joined an Al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia in 2001. The alleged Bush plot occurred while he was studying in that country. His family contends that U.S. officials were behind his detention by Saudi authorities and wanted him held in that country so he could be tortured for information. A lawsuit brought on their behalf in U.S. District Court in Washington seeks to compel the government to disclose what it knows about Abu Ali and his detention.

I don’t know what to make of such people. How someone reared and educated in the United States could be attracted to these lunatics is beyond me.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    The overwhelming majority of Bush hatred in this country is from people reared and educated in the United States, so it doesn’t surprise me much at all.

  2. Steve Talbert says:

    From reading just that article, it sounds like the family is behind getting the suit moved along because they feel the charges were made up to enable the guy to be tortured for info. This might be similar to that other guy who were involved with AlQaeda prior to 9/11 and too stupid to see where it was going. Hard to say from just this article. Given that they retain and question you and can fine you for even joking about a bomb at airport security, this should be followed up with. Cheney as President would be TERRIBLE.

  3. Rand Holman says:

    The post I wrote this morning about this story came from an AP report that included something too many have missed:

    “More than 100 supporters of Abu Ali crowded the courtroom Tuesday and laughed when the charge was read aloud alleging that he conspired to assassinate Bush.”

    Oh yeah, that merits a big ha-ha.

    And I also asked whether “torture” would now be the defense for all accused, alleged, suspected (whatever) terrorists?

  4. jen says:

    I watched that crowd outside of the courthouse for quite a while after the hearing. Maybe hoping for TV time?

  5. Why do you people assume he was guilty? If they had the goods on him (for what sounds like angry conversation at best), why wasn’t he charged instead of being shipped out to Saudi Arabia for months of torture first?

    I find it incomprehensible that my fellow Americans would prejudge someone who has indisputably been tortured (he was sent to a country that tortures suspects, q.e.d).

    If he is proven guilty, he should obviously be punished, but some evidence and a trial is in order first. But please explain to me why the torture was necessary?

    Is it possible his supporters laughed because the charges are flat out ridiculous? Is it possible he was charged in a pathetic effort to justify extraordinary rendition that was not in any way justified?

    What ever happened to due process and the assumption of innocence…or is that irrelevant when you’re a Muslim?

  6. DC Loser says:


    Thanks for your comments. You said what I felt better than I could have put it.

  7. Jim says:

    Isn’t this the first step of the trial? Before we pass judgement (about his guilt or innocence or even whether he was tortured) lets wait for the trial to commence. It seems that too many are quick to judgement when someone in the same ideological spectrum is charged. Lets take a deep breath and let the criminal justice system do its work. Remember until the trial by his peers is conducted he is PRESUMED innocent.

  8. Chase says:

    “why wasn’t he charged instead of being shipped out to Saudi Arabia for months of torture first?”

    He was arrested in Saudi Arabia, not “shipped out” there.

  9. LJD says:

    “I find it incomprehensible that my fellow Americans would prejudge someone who has indisputably been tortured (he was sent to a country that tortures suspects, q.e.d).”

    Idisputable? By being “sent” to country that tortures suspects.

    I suppose the feelings of many Americans about our country’s presumed stance on torture would indisputably prove that any one who comes here is tortured.

    Maybe you should examine your own assumptions.
    The presumption of innocence still allows the prosecutor to build a case against the defendant. Without “judgement” from the media.

    Too many in this country would like to see innocent until proven… (explosion). Oops!

  10. swingin ' right says:

    First of all, are not all these partly clothed girls freaking you guys out? Second, do you beleive torture is right? Do you remember the Spanish Inquisition, oh no, you guys are obeidient God soldiers here to protect the motherland from the evil-doers of the world, who believe in a pagan god and only hope to destroy your over-indulgent, earth destroying, poverty rearing, polluting smoke churning waste of lives. You see, the Spanish Inc. used torure to get a confession of a crime out of someone. Unfortunately, if you did not commit this crime, they continued the torture. Until you finally told them what they want to hear. Then of course, came the punishment. Needless to say, these were Right-Wing(I think we can all agree on that) Religious nut jobs who took over by the peoples over-obedience to an invisible man in the sky they watches you all the time, everywhere your entire life. He even has a place for the bad kids, no, not the closet, HELL!!! Unfortunately, for the poor(seeking a miracle that won’t come) especially, he stays broke! Anyway, your govenment condones torture, and how long will it take to torure white republicans who might “possibly” have ties to some muslim seeking to pop off someone. Certainly no shortages of them. Or place your own scenarios. In short, click to thank Tony blair for contributing so much to our $200 billion war. Thanks, and good bye forever

  11. KEA says:

    Even if he wasn’t shipped out to saudi and arrested there, lets remember that if any other american and nonmuslim citizen was arrested, we would never allow that citizen to remain in a saudi prison, or any other foreign prison, for nearly two whole years. That’s so against the basic constitutional rights that this nation was founded upon.
    And what is this claim that he wasnt tortured? who in their right mind would believe that saudi arabia, that ‘undemocratic’ country that would never abide by any human rights’ laws, would actually respect this abu-ali boy? and the US government, our own government, which is responsible for the abu-ghraib crimes; do you actually think that they would leave Abu-Ali alone?