'American Taliban' Gets Early Release From Federal Prison

John Walker Lindh was released from prison after serving 17 years of his 20-year sentence for joining the Taliban.

Terre Haute, IN – The “American Taliban” who fought alongside terrorists in Afghanistan in the wake of the attacks of 9/11 was released early from prison on Thursday.

John Walker Lindh, 38, was discharged from a federal prison in Indiana on May 23 after serving 17 years of his 20-year sentence, NPR reported.

His sentence was discounted by three years for good behavior despite lawmakers' who were worried about the “security and safety implications” of releasing a home-grown terrorist who continued to “openly call for extremist violence” back into society, FOX News reported.

"There is something deeply troubling and wrong about this," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Lindh earned his nickname of the “American Taliban” when he was captured with other Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan in November of 2001, less than three months after terrorists crashed commercial airplanes and killed thousands of U.S. citizens in a coordinated attack.

He was part of a group of Taliban soldiers who surrendered to American forces only to perpetrate an uprising inside the military compound where they were being held that left Central Intelligence Agency Officer Mike Spann dead, NPR reported.

The Northern Californian switched from Catholicism and became a Muslim when he was 16.

He told the judge at his sentencing in 2002 that he became a soldier for the Taliban at the age of 20 because he supported its form of Islam, NPR reported.

Lindh said he had been prepared to fight the Taliban’s rivals in Afghanistan but never planned to fight against Americans.

"I have never understood jihad to mean anti-Americanism or terrorism. I condemn terrorism on every level, unequivocally," he told the court before he was sentenced.

But in the years that followed his imprisonment, Lindh expressed his continued support for the Taliban in communications with journalists, NPR reported.

U.S. Senators Richard C. Shelby (R-Alabama) and Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons before Lindh’s release seeking reassurance that there was a plan to prevent the “American Taliban” from committing additional crimes, according to The Washington Post.

“We must consider the security and safety implications for our citizens and communities who will receive individuals like John Walker Lindh, who continue to openly call for extremist violence,” the senators wrote.

But the family of Mike Spann, who consider their murdered loved one a victim of Lindh, openly expressed outrage at the terrorist’s early release.

Shortly before Spann was killed in the prisoner uprising, he interviewed the “American Taliban” but Lindh refused to answer any of his questions, according to FOX News.

“In those moments, when he chose to stay silent, he sealed his fate as a traitor to the United States,” Allison Spann, the hero’s daughter, said. “At any point, he could have warned him that something was being planned.”

Allison Spann also took to social media to publicize her outrage.

"I feel his early release is a slap in the face — not only to my father and my family, but for every person killed on Sept. 11th, their families, the U.S. military, U.S. intelligence services, families who have lost loved ones to this war and the millions of Muslims worldwide who don't support radical extremists,” she tweeted.

But experts have warned that Lindh’s release is only the first in what is going to be a wave of 9/11-related criminals becoming eligible for discharge over the next few years, NPR reported.

About 100 Americans who belonged to extremist groups are in line to be released from prison over the next four years, according to Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at START, a terrorism research center at the University of Maryland.

"This is a wave that's coming at us right now that we're not currently prepared to deal with," Jensen said. “So my hope with the Lindh case is that people look at it carefully, assess what his risks and what his needs are, and then we use that as a foundation to build on for future releases.”

Comments (11)
No. 1-10
Sailor
Sailor

Perhaps some home grown justice needs applied to this traitor.

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

I’m sure “something” will happen to him. This fucker knew who he was fighting against and still stayed in the fight. He should’ve been hanged to begin with.

cspcapt
cspcapt

he should have been tryed as a traitor

Mrdan
Mrdan

The minute he wakes out of prison n those gates closed someone should've put a bullet between his eyes n left him for the animals

JBo
JBo

He's not done. We'll hear from him again...good behavior and all.

Propolice
Propolice

This is a disgrace! If he kills again the parole board or whoever initiated his release should be held responsible and put away for LIFE

bob95648
bob95648

Change the sentencing laws to 20 years and then execution. Problem solved.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

If convicted of all of the charges on which he was indicted, Lindh could have received up to three life sentences and 90 additional years in prison. The court scheduled an evidence suppression hearing, at which Lindh would have been able to testify about the details of the torture to which he claimed he was subjected. The government faced the problem that a key piece of evidence – Lindh's confession – might be excluded from evidence as having been obtained through torture.

Michael Chertoff, then-head of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, then directed the prosecutors to offer Lindh a plea bargain. Lindh could plead guilty to two charges: supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. He would have to consent to a gag order that would prevent him from making any public statements on the matter for the duration of his 20-year sentence, and he would have to drop any claims that he had been mistreated or tortured by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and aboard two military ships during December 2001 and January 2002. In return, all other charges would be dropped. The gag order was said to be at the request of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Docshatt
Docshatt

How is it that he is released on American soil... didn't he give up his citizenship when he fought for the Afghanistan Taliban! He should be deported!

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Should have been tried as a traitor and hung when found guilty!!