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

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

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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) HassanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE (D-N.H.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November Senate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts 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.”