After serving nearly two whole decades in prison, John Walker Lindh is set to go free. As many may recall Lindh, a Californian was captured during the US forces during their invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. He quickly became referred to by the media as the American Taliban after that.
Although Lindh has been slated for release from prison this Thursday, there are conditions that were imposed recently that have the US authorities remaining highly concerned about just how much a threat the young man will pose when he is officially released.
Having seen the film “Malcolm X”, Lindh as a teenager went overseas to study both Arabic and the Quran, and as a result, converted to Islam. Making his way from Pakistan to Afghanistan in November 2000, he proceeded to join the Taliban. He was a member of them on September 11th, 2001, when fellow al-Qaida terrorists attacked the Pentagon and took down the World Trade Center buildings.
After Afghanistan failed to turn over then al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to the US, we attached the country in retaliation. As a result, Lindh was captured by US forces in a battle against Northern Alliance fighters in late 2001. Lindh was also present when a CIA officer, John Micheal “Mike” Spann, was killed by a group of Taliban prisoners.
When footage of a bearded, wounded Lindh was televised after being caught with a group of Taliban fighters, an international sensation was created. He was subsequently brought back to the US to face charges for both conspiring to kill Spann, as well as providing support to terrorists. Lindh ended up taking a plea bargain and admitted to his illegal support of terrorists, but stood fast to a denial that he had any role in Spann’s death.
As a result, Lindh was sentenced to 20-years in prison. Having served roughly 17 years and five months, and with good behavior typically only having to fulfill 85 percent of their sentence, federal inmates who exhibit good behavior typically are released.
Having initially opposing additional restrictions for his release, Lindh finally acquiesced. Those restrictions include: monitoring software on all of his internet devices, all online communications may only be conducted in English, that he undergo mental health counseling, he is forbidden from either the possession or viewing of any type of extremist material, and he is not permitted to hold a passport of any type or of leaving the US.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Is Lindh still a possible threat to the United States and its citizens?