John Walker Lindh, the captured Islamic militant who at age 20 journeyed to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and fought alongside the terrorists in the days after 9/11, was released from a U.S. federal prison in Indiana on Thursday — despite lawmakers’ concerns about the “security and safety implications” of freeing an unrepentant terrorist who officials say continues to “openly call for extremist violence.”
Lindh, dubbed the “American Taliban,” had been serving his sentence at the Terre Haute, Indiana facility. He was discharged several years before completing the 20-year prison sentence he received for joining and supporting the Taliban, with officials citing “good behavior” for the early release. The former Islamist fighter and enemy combatant, named “Detainee 001 in the war on terror,” was captured alongside a group of Taliban fighters in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan.
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“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,” Sens. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., wrote in a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons late last week that was obtained by the Washington Post.
In the letter, the lawmakers reportedly sought details on how the agency is working to prevent prisoners such as Lindh from committing additional crimes after their release. They also asked which other “terrorist offenders” are next in line to be freed and how the Federal Bureau of Prisons determines whether or not someone is an “ongoing public threat.”
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Lindh has been blamed for playing a role in the death of Johnny “Mike” Spann, a U.S Marine turned CIA paramilitary operative who became the first American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan, amid the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Spann’s daughter, Allison, told Fox News in March that Lindh’s early release “feels like such a slap in the face.”
This is a developing story; please check back for updates.
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