'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh Released From Prison

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

May 23, 2019

The man known as the 'American Taliban,' John Walker Lindh, was released from a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana on Thursday after more than 17 years behind bars on charges of providing support to terrorists.

Lindh, now 38, was the first person brought up on charges related to the War on Terror following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was sentenced to 20 years in 2001, but the Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons says Lindh's early release was due to the prisoner's "good conduct" during his time in prison.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told 'Fox and Friends' Thursday morning that Lindh's release was "unexplainable and unconscionable." Pompeo went on to blast the early release of the convicted terrorist saying it showed a need to review the process.

"All the things that went into this day, where he is being allowed out early. I think we need to review it all."

Lindh is expected to reside in northern Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. and is said to still be radicalized with extremist beliefs.

"He still, as I understand it, still is threatening the United States of America and still committed to the very jihad that he engaged in that killed a great American and a great CIA officer. There is something deeply troubling and wrong about this," Pompeo said.

Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) released a statement on Tuesday that expressed concern over Lindh's early release and demanded to know what steps would be taken to ensure the convicted terrorist would not be a threat to public safety.

"Our highest priority is keeping America safe, secure and free," they said in the statement. "To that end, 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."

As part of the conditions of his release, Lindh will be required to attend mental health counseling and not communicate or espouse extremist views. Several restrictions were also placed on his internet use, including only being able to communicate online in English.

Lindh was captured by Northern Alliance fighters as an enemy combatant during the U.S.'s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Lindh took part in the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, an uprising of Taliban prisoners that left a CIA officer dead. Lindh accepted a plea bargain after pleading guilty to two charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Department of Justice accepted the deal because Lindh's confession was obtained without him having been read his Miranda rights and under conditions his attorney described as torture.

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