"This case seems to show the extent of the shambles in the U.S. intelligence establishment," says TIME correspondent William Dowell. "The operation to train Muslims to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan during the '80s has proved to be a disaster. And there's an obvious lack of coordination between different arms of the intelligence establishment -- this former field officer of a foreign army turned up as a sergeant in one of the U.S. Army's most sensitive special warfare facilities after having been turned away by the CIA as a security risk in 1984. So there's an obvious question about how he slipped through the cracks."
While serving in the U.S. Army, Mohamed is alleged to have trained Muslim volunteers in New York to fight in Afghanistan. "Somebody had to know he was coming up here and training people," says Dowell. "This case is going to highlight the need for a hard look at the effect of interagency rivalry and of budget cuts on the state of U.S. intelligence." Convicting Mohamed may depend on being able to prove his involvement in a conspiracy -- after all, simply providing training to Muslim fundamentalists who later turned against the U.S. is a charge that could apply more widely to Washington's Afghan war operation.