Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban'

Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban'
© Kevin Dietsch for The Hill

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSchiff: Diplomacy with Iran 'only way out of this situation' Bolton exit provokes questions about Trump shift on Iran Buttigieg: Not too late for US to be 'constructive force' in Middle East MORE took aim at a prison board in Indiana that decided this week to release John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban,” from prison after 17 years.

In an interview with Fox News, Pompeo called the release of Lindh "unexplainable and unconscionable," pointing to his reported role in an Afghan prison uprising that led to the death of a CIA operative.


"We are now allowing someone who was involved in his death out of jail after what is a relatively short sentence. I think it calls for a review of our processes, all the things that went into this day, where he is being allowed out early. I think we need to review it all," Pompeo said.

"He still, as I understand it, still is threatening the United States of America," Pompeo added. "[Lindh is] 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."

It's unclear what threats Pompeo was referring to. Lindh repudiated his support of the Taliban before a federal judge in 2002, telling a court at the time that he never had any intention of fighting the U.S. after joining the Taliban in 2000, a year before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I did not go to fight against America, and I never did,” Lindh told U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in 2002 upon his sentencing. “I have never supported terrorism in any form, and I never will. ... I made a mistake by joining the Taliban. Had I realized then what I know now, I would never have joined them.”

The family of the slain CIA operative, Johnny “Mike” Spann, has called for an investigation into whether Lindh remains radicalized following his release.

"You need to find out for sure, is this guy still the same al Qaeda member we put in jail? If he is still the al Qaeda member we put in jail then we need to throw the plea agreement away and do something else," Spann's father told CNN in a recent interview.