An AWOL soldier who had weapons stashed in a motel room near Fort Hood has admitted planning an attack on the Texas post, where 13 people died in 2009 in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military installation, the Army said in an alert issued Thursday.
Pfc. Naser Abdo, a 21-year-old soldier granted conscientious objector status this year after he said his Muslim beliefs prevented him from fighting, was arrested Wednesday. Agents found firearms and "items that could be identified as bomb-making components, including gunpowder," in his motel room, according to FBI spokesman Erik Vasys.
The Army alert sent via e-mail says Killeen police arrested Abdo after a tip from the owners of a gun shop, and that he "was in possession of a large quantity of ammunition, weapons and a bomb inside a backpack."
Upon questioning, the alert says, he admitted planning an attack on Fort Hood.
Officials have not offered details about Abdo's possible intentions. The infantry soldier from Fort Campbell, Ky., whose hometown is Garland, Texas, applied for conscientious objector status last year. A military review board recommended this spring that he be separated from the Army.
The discharge was delayed after Abdo was charged with possessing child pornography. Fort Campbell civilian spokesman Bob Jenkins said Abdo "was fully aware that he was being investigated for possessing child pornography since November 2010."
An Article 32 military hearing last month recommended he be court-martialed; he went absent without leave during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The military's criminal investigation division, along with the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force, also investigated Abdo earlier this year after he was flagged for making unspecified anti-American comments while taking a language class in April, according to a U.S. official briefed on the investigation.
Abdo's arrest came after the owners of a local gun store - the same store where the 2009 Fort Hood shootings suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan bought a pistol used in the attack - called police, the Army's alert said.