John Walker Lindh, also known as the American Taliban after being captured by U.S. forces while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, was set free Thursday, May 23.
Lindh, 38, served 17 of a possible 20 year sentence according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons after striking a plea deal, admitting he provided support to the Taliban but denied playing a role in Mike Spann’s death.
Lindh was being held at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Those opposed to his release said his sentence was too lenient and he should at least serve his full term.
Interviewed on Fox News Thursday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in regard to the early release, “There is something deeply troubling and wrong about this.”
Lindh converted to Islam after watching the film “Malcolm X” as a teenager and left the United States for Pakistan and then Afghanistan to study the Quran and learn Arabic, eventually joining the Taliban.
He was a member of the Taliban when al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9-11.
Lindh was captured in a battle with Northern Alliance fighters in late 2001. Lindh and hundreds of Taliban terrorists surrendered to the United States and allied Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in November 2001.
While detained at a military compound, the Taliban prisoners organized an attack, killing CIA paramilitary officer Mike Spann who had been interrogating Lindh and other Taliban prisoners.
Lindh said he was not part of the uprising but Spann’s family said Lindh still has culpability as he chose not to warn Spann about the upcoming ambush.
After being captured while fighting with the Taliban the heavily bearded and wounded Lindh caused international fascination as he was transported back to the United States to face charges.
There are clearly concerns about the potential threat posed by Lindh being set free when looking at the conditions of his release as requested of the court by his probation officer.
Lindh must submit to mental health counseling and is required to have monitoring software installed on all of his internet devices. All of his online communications must be conducted in English and he is forbidden from possessing or viewing extremist material. He is prohibited from leaving the United States and cannot hold a passport from any country.