Ex-Intel official says release of 'American Taliban' could return him to 'terrorist brothers'

A former intelligence officer said Friday that releasing prisoners guilty of terrorism-related charges like “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh to society poses a serious challenge for the United States.

"In the end, I think Western nations struggle,” Douglas Wise, who served as a Deputy Director of Defense Intelligence Agency under the Obama administration, told Hill.TV. "Our judicial processes, our core values play to our disadvantage in these kids of cases.”

"I think we run a great risk of repatriating these individuals back into society and we run a great risk of them returning to their terrorist brothers,” he continued.

Wise’s comments come amid controversy surrounding the release of Lindh, who was the first American to face charges in the War on Terror.

The Indiana prison board decided this week to release Lindh for good behavior after serving 17 of his 20-year prison sentence.

The California native was originally captured in Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He later pled guilty to aiding the Taliban, and said his involvement with Islamic fundamentalist group was a “mistake.”

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Top House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing Democrats subpoena top aides to Pompeo MORE slammed Lindh’s release, calling it "unexplainable and unconscionable," and pointing to his reported role in an Afghan prison uprising.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE, meanwhile, expressed disappointment, saying he tried to stop Lindh’s release and consulted his lawyers but was told there was nothing he could do. 

Wise said Lindh should have served his full prison sentence.

“The family, his colleagues, me among them — we have a right to be outraged,” he told Hill.TV. “I think Secretary Pompeo and the president are actually spot on on this issue.” 

—Tess Bonn