Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pompeo slams release of "American Taliban" as unconscionable

Pompeo slams release of

The president said he asked lawyers whether there was anything that could be done to block Lindh from getting out but was told no. Trump said the USA will closely monitor him. Am I happy about it?

John Lindh, 38, was released Thursday from the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

He had spent more than 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to providing support to the Taliban.

Lindh, 38, was the first prisoner brought into a USA courtroom to face charges in the War on Terror, following the September 11 attacks.

Leaked US government documents published by Foreign Policy magazine show the federal government as recently as 2016 described Lindh as holding "extremist views".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Lindh's release "unexplainable and unconscionable".

"There is something deeply troubling and wrong about this", Pompeo told "Fox & Friends" in an interview.

Melissa Kimberley, a spokesperson for the prison in Terre Haute, could not confirm details of Lindh's release other than it would be on Thursday.

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Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) wrote a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons last week, asking what sort of training the agency provides for officials monitoring their charges for signs of violent recidivism. But conditions imposed on Lindh's release make clear that authorities remain concerned about the threat he could pose once free. He will also undergo mental health counseling.

Lindh's parents, Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh, did not respond to requests for comment.

The quiet son of a middle-class couple living north of San Francisco, converted to Islam at 16 years old and travelled in 1998 to Yemen to study Arabic.

At his sentencing, Lindh admitted to volunteering as a Taliban soldier to help fellow Muslims in their jihad but said he had no intention "to fight against America". When he was sentenced, Lindh said he never would have joined the Taliban if he fully understood what they were about.

The U.S. attacked Afghanistan after the country failed to turn over bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaeda.

Some who have known Lindh, or have spoken to officials inside the US government, said leaked assessments published by Foreign Policy in 2017 by the National Counterterrorism Center and Bureau of Prisons accurately portrayed Lindh as even more radicalized than when he was captured on an Afghan battlefield in 2001.

On Wednesday, NBC reported that Lindh, in a letter to a producer from Los Angeles-based affiliate KNBC, wrote in 2015 that the Islamic State is "doing a spectacular job" and "is clearly very honest and serious about fulfilling the long-neglected religious obligation to establish a caliphate through armed struggle".

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