Way before anyone ever heard of an American becoming radicalized, going overseas and joining the Islamic State (ISIS) there was John Walker Lindh.
For those that might not remember, Lindh was the 21-year-old California kid who became radicalized to the point he joined the Taliban. He was subsequently capture by the U.S. military and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Well, it’s 17-and-a-half years later and Lindh is being released from federal prison. However, authorities are still concerned about his commitment to Islamic Jihadism.
According to the Associated Press (AP):
His probation officer asked the court to impose additional restrictions on Lindh while he remains on supervised release for the next three years. Lindh initially opposed but eventually acquiesced to the restrictions, which include monitoring software on his internet devices; requiring that his online communications be conducted in English and that he undergo mental health counseling; and forbidding him from possessing or viewing extremist material, holding a passport of any kind or leaving the U.S.
The Bureau of Prisons said Lindh rejected an interview request submitted by The Associated Press, and his lawyer declined to comment. But there have been reports that Lindh’s behavior in prison has created cause for concern. Foreign Policy magazine reported in 2017 that an investigation by the National Counterterrorism Center found that Lindh “continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts.”
Okay, I understand that Lindh “served his time” and all that jazz. But, if Lindh had been continuing his extremist behavior in prison — as recently as 2017 — why did they let him out early?
“For three years he’s going to be watched like a hawk,” said Michael Jensen, a terrorism researcher at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism.
Again, if Lindh is going to be “watched like a hawk,” then why are they releasing him early? They could’ve watched Lindh “like a hawk” in prison, and it would’ve been easier to do.
How did Lindh become radicalized? The AP reported:
Lindh, now 38, converted to Islam as a teenager after seeing the film “Malcolm X” and went overseas to study Arabic and the Quran. In November 2000, he went to Pakistan and from there made his way to Afghanistan. He joined the Taliban and was with them on Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaida terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Maybe it’s just me, but if you leave your country — wherever that might be — and go to a country to join a terrorist organization bent on destroying the way of life your country of origin enjoys, you should be stripped of your citizenship. Sorry. Do not pass go. Do not collect taxpayer money.
And yet, despite his reported continued radicalism, Lindh is still being released.