Lance, an investigative journalist with five Emmy awards, indicts U.S. intelligence and security services for incompetence and dishonesty by focusing on the saga of Ali Mohammed, a Special Forces advisor, FBI informant, CIA operative—and also a highly placed Al-Qaeda member who served as bin Laden's bodyguard, trained bin Laden's forces, built and trained a terrorist cell in New York, and provided classified intelligence to Islamists. He was ultimately caught, yes, but almost by accident.
How did this happen? How could this man get away with a double life for so long? Lance at times argues that individual soldiers "let down their guard." But the cultural and organizational context of the time also was important. The U.S. military culture of the 1980s was heavily shaped by multiculturalism; service members learned to keep their derogatory opinions on racial and religious issues to themselves—but, perhaps, at some cost to security.
What were soldiers expected to do when they heard Ali Mohammed's anti-Americanism spoken in the language of Islamic jingoism? How many of them were reluctant to make an issue of even borderline seditious comments out of fear of being accused of insensitivity to Islam? Additionally, Mohammed was selected by Army leaders to give lectures on Islam, and in this capacity he may well have indoctrinated soldiers at Fort Bragg on Islamic superiority.
Lance also brings up the still-relevant issue of transferring killing skills. Soldiers are schooled in many disciplines, but the chief job of soldiers is to close with the enemy and kill him. Military training reflects this mission. Mohammed was, by any standards, a first-rate, highly trained killer who passed on the skills he learned to those who would later kill Americans. How many more jihadis or future jihadis are currently serving in the uniforms of the U.S. armed forces? What skills and classified information will they pass on?