'American Taliban' set to be released after years behind bars

'American Taliban' set to be released after years behind bars
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John Walker Lindh, who became known as "American Taliban" after he was captured in 2001 fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan, is set to be released from prison Thursday despite concerns among some lawmakers that he may remain a threat.

Lindh, who converted to Islam before traveling to Pakistan and Afghanistan in November 2000, was captured in late 2001 and was later present when several Taliban prisoners launched an operation that killed a CIA officer who had been interrogating him and other prisoners.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison after making a plea deal in which he admitted to providing support to the Taliban without admitting to a role in the officer’s death.

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Lindh served 17 years and five months, with his probation officer asking the court to impose restrictions like monitoring of his personal devices and forbidding him from holding a passport or leaving the country during his three-year supervised release, according to The Associated Press.

“For three years he’s going to be watched like a hawk,” Michael Jensen, a terrorism researcher at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, told the AP.

In a letter Monday to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Sens. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSecond ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators Key endorsements: A who's who in early states Overnight Health Care: Poll finds most Americans misunderstand scope of 'Medicare for All' | Planned Parenthood chief readies for 2020 | Drugmakers' lawsuit ramps up fight with Trump MORE (D-N.H.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyAlabama secretary of state announces Senate bid House approves 3 billion spending package This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request MORE (R-Ala.) expressed concerns over Lindh’s release, citing a 2017 Foreign Policy report that Lindh still holds extremist beliefs that he intends to promote upon release.

In the letter, Hassan and Shelby ask for further information on why Lindh is scheduled for release before the completion of his 20-year sentence and information about other prisoners convicted of terrorism offenses scheduled for releases between now and 2025.

“Our highest priority is keeping America safe, secure, and free,” the letter states. “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.”