Houston: Barry Walter Bujol, a Texan, who had referred to members of al-Qaeda as his "brothers" has been arraigned and will face trial this year. He was arraigned yesterday, with the judge holding him without bail for an early trial.
Bujol, 29, from Hempstead about 50 miles from Houston, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
He has been charged of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, by sending men for training and providing currency.
An FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which had been investigating Bujol for two years, said he had referred to members of al-Qaeda as his "brothers," and was eager to prove
his dedication to the organisation by engaging in physical and covert communications training.
According to the task force, he used at least 14 e-mail addresses from which he communicated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born, al-Qaeda-linked cleric believed to be
hiding in Yemen.
Al-Awlaki also is believed to have exchanged e-mails with Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in last November?s Fort Hood shootings.
He is also accused of helping arrange the Times Square bombing attempt in May as well as the failed Christmas Day airline bombing.
According to the FBI, Bujol was befriended in November 2009 by a man Bujol believed to be a recruiter of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The man was actually an FBI informant who learnt details of Bujol`s alleged interest in al-Qaeda.
According to court papers, the informant allegedly exchanged messages and other items which were intended to give Bujol access to sensitive areas, including a secure part of a
Houston-area port where he was to have boarded a ship bound for the Middle East.
The long-term investigation culminated on May 30th, 2010, when Bujol tried to board a ship docked at the port.