Ali A. Mohamed, a former U.S. Army sergeant who is now in prison, secretly worked for Osama bin Laden?s Al Qaeda network. From 1987 to 1989, he was stationed at Fort Bragg, where he obtained sensitive, top secret documents showing plans of special operations units that are operating in Afghanistan today. The documents described how the units work, and one of them contained detailed plans for a special operations training exercise in Pakistan.
From 1981 until his arrest in 1998, Mohamed was a key member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and he belonged to Al Qaeda throughout the 1990s. In 1990, the FBI found Army documents that Mohamed gave to an Islamic extremist who was later convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspiracy. Included were documents from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander in chief of the Army?s Central Command.
As a major in the Egyptian military?s special operations forces, Mohamed took an officer training course for Green Berets at Fort Bragg in 1981. The U.S. military offered the course to dozens of foreign soldiers each year. About the same time, he joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a group dedicated to overthrowing the government of Egypt. This group was responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
In 1984, Mohamed moved to the United States, joined the U.S. Army and was attached to the Fifth Special Forces. He was valuable because of his fluency in Arabic and familiarity with the Middle East. He wasn?t a member of the Special Forces, but he taught Green Berets.
Mohamed is now in prison in an undisclosed location, awaiting sentencing for his role in planning the 1998 car-bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, which killed 224 people and injured 4,500. During his guilty plea in federal court, he admitted teaching terrorists about military operations, intelligence and explosives.
There is disagreement over whether the stolen documents could hurt U.S. military efforts. ?There is no doubt that his proximity, in hindsight, was very harmful,? says an anonymous former Special Forces officer. ?Does this hurt our efforts now? Absolutely.?
Retired Lt. Col. Lonnie R. Poole disagrees, and says that knowledge of the late-1980s training exercise or the documents used to plan it won?t jeopardize U.S. military actions today. ?You can get more accurate information by going off post and buying a training book,? he says.
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