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Top-secret docs possibly declassified for Lubbock terror case

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Court records say the FBI is trying to have certain top secret documents declassified in the criminal case of a Lubbock terror suspect. 

Khalid Aldawsari, 20, was arraigned Monday morning before a federal magistrate in Lubbock federal court, and pleaded not guilty to one charge of Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction.  Security was tight, with U.S. Marshals holding assault rifles and Aldawsari being kept out of view of the media.

Then, Monday afternoon prosecutors filed a motion for a protective order. 

"The FBI is in the process of seeking declassification of certain materials," the motion says.

Aldawsari is a foreign national from Saudi Arabia, in Lubbock as a college student prior to his February 23rd arrest.  The investigation of Aldawsari was conducted in part by the terms of FISA or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. 

Monday's motion also says, "One of the factors that influences the FBI's decision to declassify this type of evidence is its concern -- shared by its partners in the intelligence community -- with whether there are adequate protections in place to address the non-disclosure of the materials..."

Prosecutors also mention the privacy of potential witnesses and the possibility of some people being labeled as un-indicted co-conspirators. 

But declassified does not mean open to the public.

The judge approved and issued a protective order on sensitive documents that are declassified.  That means only attorneys in the case, expert witnesses, and the defendant himself will have access.  Once the case is over, copies of sensitive documents are to be collected and returned to the U.S. government.

Judge Sam Cummings writes, "It is further ordered that all such sensitive discovery materials are to be provided to the defense, and used by the defense, solely for the purpose of allowing the defendant to prepare his defense."

The word "discovery" means the formal process by which opposing attorneys in the case share documents or evidence.

Monday's protective order is in addition to a March 9th prohibition on attorneys in the case talking to the news media; such a restriction is commonly called a gag order.

Court records say Aldawsari wanted to blow up power plants, hydro dams, and the home of former President George W. Bush.  Those same court records say he acquired the raw materials needed to make a chemical bomb. 

A May 2nd trial date was set.

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