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Video: AWOL soldier arrested with bombs, guns

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    >>> awol private army arrested in ft. hood where he is allegedly confessed to plotting an attack on fellow soldiers, this after two years after a gunman went on a deadly rampage at ft. hood killing 13 people. janet, good morning to you.

    >> m matt, good morning. this soldier had everything ready to go. hotel room full of gunpowder and ammunition and printed materials on how to make a bomb. authorities say his plan could very well have succeeded, if it hadn't been for an alert citizen who saw something and said something. this is the motel where police arrested 21-year-old private first class nas sar abdo on wednesday. with enough explosives in his room to make at least two bombs.

    >> he's a very dangerous individual. and he's where he needs to be.

    >> reporter: it's all thanks to the alert owner of this killeen gun store . federal officials say he tipped off police after abdo arrived by taxi on tuesday, buying six pounds of smokeless gunpowder , three boxes of shotgun ammunition, and a magazine for a semi automatic pistol. the clerk became suspicious when the soldier indicated he didn't know much about what he was buying.

    >> we rang him up. he paid cash for the purchase. put it in the bag. he grabbed the bag an out the door he goes. he didn't even wait for a receipt or change.

    >> reporter: it's the same store where investigators say major nadal hassan bought the gun used in the 2002 shoot that killed 13. last year citing his muslim beliefs abdo asked for con conscientious objector status.

    >> my stance with god is more important than my stance with the military.

    >> reporter: and spoke to them about his request.

    >> when i joined the military in august i had different views on war, i had different -- i had different views on what islam as a peaceful religion allowed and did not allow me to do.

    >> reporter: delayed after possessing child pornography. he faced a court-martial for that last month but then went awol in ft. campbell, kentucky. authorities believe abdo acted alone and he planned to detonate the bomb not here on post where he would have a tough time getting in but somewhere nearby like a restaurant, a place where soldiers here at ft. hood fre frequently congregate.

msnbc.com and NBC News
updated 7/29/2011 6:32:46 PM ET 2011-07-29T22:32:46

The U.S. soldier accused of planning to set off bombs near Fort Hood, Texas, defiantly shouted anti-military statements Friday as he was led away after his first court appearance.

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Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, 21, of Garland, Texas, was charged in federal court with possession of an unregistered destructive device, which carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. He was ordered held without bond because he is officially absent without leave from his base at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Abdo shouted "Abeer Quassim al Janvi!" at the federal courthouse in Waco after the hearing. That is the name a 14-year-old girl who was raped in Iraq in 2006 by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, to which Abdo is assigned.

As three U.S. marshals tried to hustle him away in handcuffs, Abdo then shouted, "Nidal Hasan, Fort Hood 2009!" Hasan is an Army psychiatrist charged with the shootings that killed 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.

Court documents allege that Abdo was planning to detonate two bombs "inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers from Ft. Hood, Texas."

When federal investigators searched Abdo's motel room Wednesday, they found two clocks, an article outlining how to make a bomb from a magazine published by al-Qaida in Yemen and a backpack carrying a list of items needed to make a bomb, the documents said.

Elsewhere in the room, they found six containers of gunpowder, shotgun shells that had been cut apart — possibly to use the pellets they contained as shrapnel — and two pressure cookers. The documents said Abdo told the FBI that he planned to "assemble two bombs in his hotel room using gun powder and shrapnel packed into pressure cookers" — devices known as "pot bombs."

Abdo was assigned a court-appointed attorney, Keith Dorsett of Waco, and is scheduled for a follow-up court appearance next Thursday.

In Fuhais, Jordan, Adbo's father, Jamal Abdo, told The Associated Press the allegations were "all lies from A to Z."

"My son loved people no matter who they are, whether Jews or Christians," Jamal Abdo said. "Naser is not the kind of a person who harbors evil for the other people, he cannot kill anyone and he could not have done any bad thing."

Tip from gun store
U.S. officials told NBC News' Pete Williams that they believed Abdo had planned to set off the bombs Thursday, and Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said Thursday that it was clear that "military personnel were targeted."

"I would call it a terror plot," Baldwin said. "We would probably have been giving a different briefing here if he had not been stopped."

Abdo, an infantryman with the 1st Brigade Combat Team (Rear Provisional) of the 101st Airborne, was arrested at an America's Best Value Inn on South Fort Hood Road, initially on a child pornography warrant stemming from an investigation at Fort Campbell.

Abdo went missing this month after he was recommended for a court-martial on those charges. Abdo, who has mounted an extensive public campaign to leave the Army, has denied he was involved in child pornography.

Video: Police: 'Military personnel were a target' (on this page)

U.S. officials told NBC News that police went to Abdo's motel room on a tip from a dealer at Guns Galore — the same shop where Hasan is accused of buying the materials he allegedly used in the 2009 attack at Fort Hood, the largest U.S. military base in the world.

They said Abdo was asking suspicious questions about smokeless powder before leaving with sixpounds of smokeless gunpowder, three boxes of shotgun ammunition and a magazine for a semi-automatic pistol.

A U.S. military official said Abdo was overheard saying he wanted to attack Fort Hood and that he repeated the statement after he was in custody.

Video: AWOL soldier arrested with bombs, guns (on this page)

Child porn charges block discharge as conscientious objector
Abdo sought conscientious objector status last year, arguing that his Muslim beliefs prohibited military service. The Army approved his application in May, then, two days later, it charged him with possession of child pornography, which put his discharge on hold, he said on a Facebook page.

The page has since been removed, but Fort Hood confirmed that Abdo's conscientious objector application was approved "in May 2011" and that he was then charged with possession of child pornography on May 13.

Fort Hood statement on Naser Abdo

Shortly before the Article 32 hearing last month that recommended he face a court-martial, Abdo told NBC station WSMV-TV of Nashville, Tenn.: "I did not put child pornography on the government computer." He said the timing of the charges "sounds pretty fishy."

A spokesman for the military said the charges were "completely unrelated" to Abdo's conscientious objector application.

Abdo's campaign to leave the Army got considerable coverage beginning in August, when he gave several televised interviews.

"As my time came near to deployment, I started asking the question more seriously whether God would accept what I was doing and whether I was really meant to go to war, as opposed to the peace that Islam preaches," he said in an August interview with Headline News. He made similar comments in interviews with al-Jazeera.

YouTube: August 2010 Headline News interview with Naser Abdo

As recently as June, Abdo was pursuing his battle on the Facebook page, where he described himself as "engaged in a struggle against religious discrimination and for freedom of conscience in the US Army."

The last update was June 21, thanking his supporters. In his next-to-last update, posted nine minutes earlier, he wrote that he could not find a way to delete the account and so "after this update I will be leaving." He did not say where he was going.

James Branum, the lawyer who represented Abdo during his proceedings at Fort Campbell, told the New York Daily News that he had not heard from his client "for quite a while."

"I'm not sure what to think about this," Branum said.

By Alex Johnson of msnbc.com with Pete Williams and Courtney Kube of NBC News in Washington. The following NBC stations contributed to this report: KCEN of Waco, Texas; WLEX of Lexington, Ky.; and WSMV of Nashville, Tenn.

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