‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh scheduled for early release in May 2019
CIA special operations officer Johnny “Mike” Spann was killed during a prisoner uprising at the Qala-i-Jangi fortress just after interrogating Lindh.
Every year we remember Johnny “Mike” Spann, the CIA special operations officer who was the first American killed in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Each year we discover new facts and stories, including the letter from Afghan warlord Abdul Rahdis Dostum and the memorial he dedicated in Spann’s memory, interviews with his oldest daughter Alison, and the family’s reaction to the release of Bowie Bergdahl.
Spann was killed during a prisoner uprising at the Qala-i-Jangi fortress
Spann interrogated so-called ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh at the prison.
It’s not clear if Lindh played a direct role in Spann’s death, but he was present during the uprising. This 2004 L.A. Times article, Detainees Describe CIA Agent’s Slaying:
Captives from Afghanistan have told FBI agents that CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann became the first American to die in a clash in Afghanistan after he shot to death a prisoner who was attempting to attack him, possibly sparking the prison riot that claimed his life.
The events surrounding Spann’s death three years ago have never been fully explained by U.S. officials. Government accounts have said he was swarmed by angry Taliban soldiers at the prison and crushed or beaten to death, but his father has suggested that his son may have been shoved to his knees and shot execution-style.
No concrete details on the death emerged in the court case of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban from Marin County, who had been interrogated by Spann shortly before the CIA agent died. The Afghan prisoners said Lindh shouted out around the time of the prison uprising that he was “an American and spoke English,” in an attempt to escape harm from U.S. and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance forces.
The newly public FBI reports, released Tuesday along with several hundred pages of other documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking information on the treatment of detainees, do not indicate whether the detainees’ accounts were considered believable by U.S. officials.
In our post in November 2017, we noted that Lindh might receive early prison release, Remembering CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann as John Walker Lindh release date nears:
When Lindh leaves prison in less than two years, he will be unrepentant, as a June 2017 Foreign Policy article documents:
Now 36 years old, Lindh is set to be released in less than two years. And he’ll leave prison with Irish citizenship and a stubborn refusal to renounce violent ideology, according to the U.S. government. Foreign Policy obtained two government documents that express concerns about Lindh: One details the communications of Lindh and other federal prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges, and the second, written by the National Counterterrorism Center, addresses the intelligence community’s larger concerns over these inmates, once released.
“As of May 2016, John Walker Lindh (USPER) — who is scheduled to be released in May 2019 after being convicted of supporting the Taliban — continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts,” reads the National Counterterrorism Center document prepared earlier this year.
The report, marked “For Official Use Only” and dated Jan. 24, 2017, provides a window into how the intelligence community looks at the prospect of releasing American citizens still considered potential threats. The document indicates that intelligence and law enforcement agencies are already worried that “homegrown violent extremists,” like other criminals, could have high rates of recidivism.
The document, which cites various Federal Bureau of Prisons intelligence summaries, claims that in March of last year, Lindh “told a television news producer that he would continue to spread violent extremist Islam upon his release.”
As predicted, Lindh’s release date is scheduled for May 2019, and he remains unrepentant. Fox News reports:
John Walker Lindh, a former American Taliban militant convicted in 2002 for supporting the terrorist organization and due to be freed in May, has obtained Irish citizenship in 2013 thanks to his family’s ancestry — and he plans to live in the country when he leaves lockup….
Walker Lindh’s release has prompted security concerns, as he’s expressed wishes to travel to Ireland while also not denouncing radical Islamic ideology, including allegedly making pro-ISIS comments to journalists….
The National Counterterrorism Center penned a document dated Jan. 24, 2017 claiming Walker Lindh remains as radicalized now as he was in 2001.
“As of May 2016, John Walker Lindh (USPER) — who is scheduled to be released in May 2019 after being convicted of supporting the Taliban — continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts,” the document said.
But despite that, the Irish government won’t follow the example of the British government — which rescinded a Jihadi bride’s British citizenship — and won’t stop Walker Lindh from entering the country.
Spann’s father understandable is angry at the early release, as AL.com reports:
Seventeen years have passed since Johnny Spann stood in front of a federal judge in Virginia and implored him to impose upon John Walker Lindh a sentence longer than the 20 years he ultimately gave Lindh for serving those who sheltered Osama bin Laden….
On Tuesday, Spann learned Lindh, a man he holds as responsible for his son’s death as those who physically ended his life, will be released from prison in May, years short of his full 20 year sentence….
“This is, of course, for the family disturbing news,” Johnny Spann said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “We never thought 20 years was a long enough sentence.”
If Lindh had identified himself as an American and revealed there was an uprising planned, Spann believes his son would still be alive. Lindh, who ended up in Afghanistan as a 20-year-old from California, did not.
“He’s as much responsible for Mike’s death as the people who beat him and shot him,” Spann’s father said.
Spann’s mother also still feels the pain, as Stars and Stripes reports:
Lindh could have warned her son, Gail Spann said.
“John Walker Lindh had the opportunity to tell Mike right there, ‘You’re an American, I’m an American … We’ve got weapons in this building and we’re going to overtake this fort,’” she said. “He chose not to because he was a Taliban. He’s a traitor to our country.” …
Mike Spann’s mother tries to live a “normal life” and the family has not sought publicity for her son, declining film and book rights requests, she said.
“The things that are important to me are the same things that were important to Mike,” she said. “America’s the greatest country in the world.”
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According to the left Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn are bigger dangers.
No mandatory parole?
Well, anyhow, I’m sure the good people of Mill Valley will be throwing their fortunate son a welcome home parade.
“scheduled for early release”…
if it’s not through a trap door with a noose around his neck, it won’t be justice.
traitors need to be hung.
This guy will probably end up as a tenured professor at some “elite” American university, spending the rest of his days indoctrinating our children in hatred for American values.
Watch for him on CNN, if you can stand to watch CNN!
CNN, no, how about Fox News?! He can become a writer for the Washington Post too. Too bad the Saudi’s don’t want a piece of him.
The Obamas may direct him to the good offices of their pal, Bill Ayers, for counseling; I’m sure he’d be a huge help in remedial therapy.
how does early release, citizenship to another country gained after incarceration, and moving to the new country DURING this early release work all together?
never looked it up, seems odd.
Someone with means should be waiting for him upon his release…
If Mike was my son, I would be the one waiting for him, I would not disappoint…
Looks like Chelsea Manning will be able to find someone to date at last who gets her.
Dunno about that. If he has been completely radicalized, he may prefer goats.
or young boys.
I’ve had a window sticker on my truck for 15 or more years that reads:
“Johnny Michael “Mike” Spann
79th Star on the C.I.A.’s Wall of Honor”
People sometimes ask what’s the significance of the sticker.
So I tell them what Mike sacrificed for the United States.
I do not believe that it is in the best interest of the United States to release Lindh earlier than right after the last second of his sentence.
Too bad he didn’t get got while in prison. I’d like to think there are some patriotic convicts who couldn’t stand the sight of him. Then again, Bradley Manning is still around. Is he still running for Senate from Maryland?
As far as I know he won’t be able to leave the country until his full sentence is up.
Also, DHS can put him on the no-fly list. (Though he could still get to Ireland by driving to Canada and flying from there.)
It’s our fault for not offing this POS when we had the chance.
I’ll hope the pos has a meeting with the grim reaper shortly after his release.
Maybe somebody will want to talk to John Walker Lindh and counsel him on how to lead a righteous life; make him see the error of his ways………….OR NOT. Sure would be a shame if the World lost this sucker at such an early age.