Shelby demands answers on expected Thursday release of ‘The American Taliban’ — ‘Highest priority is keeping America safe, secure, and free’
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) in recent days wrote to Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Hugh Hurwitz expressing grave concerns about the anticipated early release of John Walker Lindh, a.k.a. “The American Taliban,” and other convicted terrorists from federal custody.
After being captured in Afghanistan in 2001, Lindh pled guilty to serving as a soldier of the Taliban. He is scheduled to be released prematurely from federal custody on Thursday. According to a 2017 Foreign Policy article, Lindh intends to spread terrorist ideology upon his release from prison.
Additionally, more than 100 other terrorist offenders are scheduled to be released over the next few years.
Shelby and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) jointly sent a letter to Hurwitz that requested further information regarding what steps the federal government is taking to ensure public safety upon the release of these individuals.
“We write to express concern over the anticipated release of convicted American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and request information about what steps the U.S. government is taking to ensure public safety,” the senators wrote.
“As many as 108 other terrorist offenders are scheduled to complete their sentences and be released from U.S. federal prisons over the next few years,” the letter outlined. “Little information has been made available to the public about who, when, and where these offenders will be released, whether they pose an ongoing public threat, and what your agencies are doing to mitigate this threat while the offenders are in federal custody.”
The senators stressed their concern with both the lack of sufficient tools to assess the continuing threat that terrorist offenders pose and the absence of sufficient behavioral programs to prevent recidivism.
“Our highest priority is keeping America safe, secure, and free,” Shelby and Hassan concluded. “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.”
Read the full letter here.
The senators set a deadline of Tuesday to receive a response to their concerns and list of seven detailed questions.
This comes weeks after Shelby secured President Donald Trump’s support of keeping Lindh in prison until he serves his full sentence.
Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in a federal penitentiary in 2002 for his role in the death of Winfield, Alabama native Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann.
Lindh’s scheduled early release was formally condemned by the Alabama legislature and other state leaders when it was revealed a few months ago.
Nevertheless, the Bureau of Prisons has not relented in their shocking decision.
Spann was the first American known to be killed in “The War on Terror” in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn