Fact Check: Has American Taliban John Walker Lindh Earned Early Release?

Has American Taliban John Walker Lindh Earned Early Release?

Fighting foreign jihadis is bad enough, but it’s sickening for the people of a nation to discover that one of their own has turned traitor and joined the enemy. The history of the US is mercifully light on traitors, but in 2001 one of these turncoats was captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance.

US operators soon heard that an American had been found and sent a team to find out what was happening — but subsequent events led to the first US combat death in Afghanistan, CIA officer Mike Spann.

Now that turncoat, John Walker Lindh, looks set to get early release from prison after serving just 16 years of a 20-year sentence. Some say the radical terrorist has earned his freedom through good behavior; Mike Spann’s daughter says it’s a slap in the face.


  • There’s no doubt that John Walker Lindh is a traitor who turned on his own country. He converted to Islam in 1997 and by 2000 he was studying at one of Pakistan’s extremist religious schools. In May of the following year, he traveled to Afghanistan and joined the Taliban in their war against the country’s legitimate government.
  • When the US and UK came to the aid of the Afghan government after 9/11, the Taliban quickly collapsed. Lindh was one of several hundred jihadis captured in the northern part of the country, and he was imprisoned near Mazar-e Sharif.
  • When the Afghan soldiers realized they had an American citizen among the captives, they informed their allies and a CIA team was sent to question him and find out what he was doing there. However, Lindh refused to speak to them — and kept quiet about a planned uprising by the prisoners. CIA officer and US Marine veteran Mike Spann died in that uprising, leaving behind a widow and three children.
  • Now Alison Spann has been told that her father’s betrayer will soon be released early from prison — and his sentencing reports suggest that he’s been granted this privilege for good behavior.
  • Mike Spann’s family is understandably dismayed at this news. The murdered man’s father says Lindh is as much responsible for Spann’s death as those who beat and shot him to death. If the traitor had warned the CIA officers of the planned uprising, it could have been prevented. Instead, he kept his mouth shut and let a fellow American die.
  • There are also real security concerns. In 2017, the National Counterterrorism Center warned that Lindh continued to advocate violent jihad against the west and spent much of his time writing extremist texts. He refuses to renounce terrorism and says he’ll carry on his fight against his own people once he’s released.
  • Alison Spann has written to President Trump asking him to reverse the decision and keep this dangerous defector behind bars. She’s right to do so — because John Walker Lindh’s behavior in prison has been anything but good, and it’s likely to get a whole lot worse if he’s given his freedom back.