Mohamed served in the Egyptian military from 1971 to 1984, before immigrating to the U.S. and joining the Army. "Whenever the U.S. military engages people born in other countries, it runs the risk that their loyalties are divided," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "It may be that Mohamed had a hidden agenda from the outset." But even if he'd joined up in good faith, he may have been unwilling to follow the shifting tides of geopolitics. "During the '80s, Bin Laden was one of our guys fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan," says Thompson. "Later, he ceased to be one of our guys, but Sergeant Mohamed may not have seen things the same way."
Countries switch loyalties more easily than people do, which may be why a Green Beret sergeant allegedly joined the Osama Bin Laden terror network. The New York Times reported Friday that Ali A. Mohamed, who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces from 1986 to 1989, is under arrest in New York facing terrorism-related charges. Among the allegations against him is that while on active duty in 1989, he secretly trained Islamic radicals in New York for combat in Afghanistan.