Pompeo: 'American Taliban' release is 'unexplainable and unconscionable'

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday denounced the...

Posted: May 23, 2019 1:26 PM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday denounced the release of "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh as "unexplainable and unconscionable"

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

Lindh, the first US-born detainee in the war on terror, was released from a federal prison in Indiana Thursday after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence. He will spend three years in supervised release, living in Virginia subject to the direction of his probation officer, his lawyer tells CNN.

Lindh went to Pakistan in 2000 and trained with a radical Islamic group there before moving to Afghanistan and joining the Taliban, according to documentation of his interrogations. He admitted to participating in a Taliban uprising at a detention camp in northern Afghanistan that killed hundreds of prisoners and a CIA officer, Johnny Michael Spann. Prosecutors did not say that Lindh had a role in Spann's death.

"I love the CIA. Johnny Micheal Spann was one of ours," said Pompeo, a former CIA director. "He's on the wall. He is a man of enormous integrity and courage, and we are now allowing someone who was involved in his death out of jail after what is a relatively short sentence."

Pompeo said Lindh's release "calls for a review of our processes, all the things that went into this day, where he is being allowed out early." Pompeo also said that he feels Judge T.S. Ellis, who oversees Lindh's case in Virginia. is "disconnected from my understanding of good behavior in the most fundamental way."

"He still, as I understand it, still is threatening the United States of America," Pompeo continued. "And still committed to the very jihad that he engaged in that killed a great American and a great CIA officer."

Two 2017 counterterrorism assessments report that Lindh has remained radicalized in prison.

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