The man known as the “American Taliban” member will be released early from federal prison on Thursday after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence.
John Walker Lindh, who was arrested in late 2001 among a group of Taliban militants, is set for release on Thursday, several years short of the sentence handed down for his membership in and support of the Taliban, Fox News reported.
It is not clear exactly why Lindh is being released early. Some reports have stated it is due to “good behavior.”
Lindh was connected to the death of Johnny “Mike” Spann, a CIA operative and former U.S. Marine who was the first casualty in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.
He was the “American Taliban” captured during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. On Thursday, John Walker Lindh is scheduled to leave federal prison, released on probation after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the Taliban. https://t.co/WqGcIS5P1t
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 22, 2019
Authorities later learned that Lindh was held in a compound with other Taliban militants after their leader surrendered. Spann attempted to interview Lindh about his involvement with the terrorist activities, but Lindh remained silent.
Just hours later, the Taliban group staged a violent attack and killed Spann.
“In those moments, when he chose to stay silent, he sealed his fate as a traitor to the United States,” said Spann’s daughter, Allison Spann. “At any point, he could have warned him that something was being planned.”
Lindh was a California native who previously converted to Islam as a teenager. He originally traveled to Afghanistan early in 2001, trained with al Qaeda members and allegedly met Osama bin Laden, who praised his loyalty to the cause, the Washington Examiner reported.
Nearly all charges – including murder conspiracy – were later dropped against Lindh and he only pleaded guilty to disobeying an executive order that forbade Taliban support, and for weapon possession in Afghanistan.
His early release is thought to be due to “good behavior,” but Spann’s daughter is criticizing it.
“I’ve spent 18 years without my dad. It never crossed my mind that the United States would let someone like this out early,” Allison Spann said. “Lindh is a traitor, and I think his early release is a slap in the face.”
I wrote this letter to @POTUS asking that the early release of John Walker Lindh be stopped. He’s going to be released on May 23, despite reports that he has continued to “advocate for global jihad.” This is not a reformed prisoner… pic.twitter.com/HVOryefVIE
— Alison Spann (@newsgirlalison) May 21, 2019
“He’s referred to as the ‘American Taliban,’ but I think it needs to be clear that he was working and training with al Qaeda, who carried out the 9/11 attacks,” she said. “Before 9/11, he was training with al Qaeda. And after 9/11, he stayed with al Qaeda. You don’t accidentally stumble into an al Qaeda training camp.”
“He hasn’t denounced radical Islam. And I think whether it’s the United States or the rest of the world — that should scare everybody,” she added.
In a joint letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons last week, Sens. Richard Shelby and Maggie Hassan condemned the release of a terrorist offender.
“Mr. Lindh is not the only convicted ISIS, al Qaeda or Taliban-related terrorist who may soon exit federal custody,” Shelby and Hassan wrote. “Our highest priority is keeping America safe, secure and free.”
“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,” they added.