The man known as “American Taliban” – John Walker Lindh, was released early on Thursday from prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He served 17 years of a 20 year sentence. Officials said he could be released before his full sentence because of “good behavior.” Except that Foreign Policy reported that in an interview with a television producer last March, he stated that he would “continue to spread violent extremism Islam upon his release.”
Lindh reportedly converted to Islam while in his teens and living in San Francisco. He was the first American to be detained after the attacks on 9-11-2001.
Shortly after his arrest, about 500 of his fellow prisoners revolted against the authorities at Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan. During that uprising, US Marine and CIA operative Johnny “Mike” Spann was killed. Spann had asked questions of Lindh after his capture, but the “American Taliban” kept silent. Spann’s family is exceedingly unhappy that Lindh has been released.
“In those moments, when he chose to stay silent, he sealed his fate as a traitor to the United States. At any point, he could have warned him that something was being planned.” Allison Spann
USA Today noted:
Lindh, raised a Catholic, converted to Islam as a teenager after seeing the film “Malcolm X” and went overseas to study Arabic and the Koran. In November 2000 he traveled to Pakistan and from there made his way to Afghanistan where he was a volunteer at an al-Qaeda training camp.
He was with the Taliban at the time of the 9/11 attacks and was captured in the U.S.-backed retaliatory raids on Afghanistan.
In his trial in 2002, Lindh pleaded guilty to serving in the Taliban army and carrying weapons but denied taking up arms against the U.S.
“I did not go to fight against America, and I never did,” Lindh told the court. “I have never supported terrorism in any form, and I never will. . . . I made a mistake by joining the Taliban. Had I realized then what I know now, I would never have joined them.”
Again, EXCEPT that authorities in the intelligence community have expressed misgivings about his release and whether he still espouses violence against Americans.
Foreign Policy reported in 2017,
As of May 2016, John Walker Lindh (USPER) — who is scheduled to be released in May 2019 after being convicted of supporting the Taliban — continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts,” reads the National Counterterrorism Center document prepared earlier this year.
The report, marked “For Official Use Only” and dated Jan. 24, 2017, provides a window into how the intelligence community looks at the prospect of releasing American citizens still considered potential threats. The document indicates that intelligence and law enforcement agencies are already worried that “homegrown violent extremists,” like other criminals, could have high rates of recidivism.Read more at Foreign Policy
Lindh has Irish citizenship that he received in 2013 through his grandmother. But he will have to put any thoughts of travel on hold, as the restrictions on him for the three year probation period are fairly extensive. And it depends also upon whether Ireland would issue a passport to him in the first place.
Are these people dangerous? Ask the five Taliban members who were exchanged for Bergdahl, and are now advocating for the Taliban in “negotiations” with the US… as bombings continue throughout their country.
Featured photo: screenshots via Fox