The early release of John Walker Lindh, called “American Taliban,” has sparked anger amid concerns that he will now return to a life of terrorism.
Retired Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill told Fox News host Dana Perino that Lindh would certainly “get back into Jihad” now that he has been released from prison after serving 17 years of the 20-year prison sentence he received for joining and supporting the Taliban.
(Video: Fox News)
“He’s going to get back into jihad, you can mark my words on that,” O’Neill, who was part of the raid that killed former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, said on “The Daily Briefing” on Thursday. He added that Lindh has not been “repentant” while serving his sentence.
“Now he’s going to Northern Virginia where there are a lot of bad Imams, bad apples,” he said, calling Lindh a “smart guy” who believes the ideology marketed by the terrorists.
“They believe in the caliphate here and then they believe in paradise. And that’s where they’re all going,” he said, noting that Lindh – who joined the Taliban before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. – became more radicalized during his time in prison.
Perino asked if any “progress” has been made in preventing the radicalization of young Americans.
“We’re too light on it and we want to make sure that it’s a peaceful religion,” he said about Islam. “For the most part, it is a peaceful religion but there is definitely a radicalized part … They’re not cracking down on it. They’re doing this in the prisons and that radical ideology is in it for the long haul.”
“We keep forgetting to never forget,” O’Neill added, criticizing Lindh’s early release from a federal prison in Indiana on Thursday with officials citing “good behavior.”
“He just did 17 years, another three is not going to hurt,” he said, warning that eventually “we’ll lose track of him” as he returns to his previous ways.
According to Fox News:
The former Islamist fighter and enemy combatant, named “Detainee 001 in the war on terror,” was captured alongside a group of Taliban fighters in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan.
Lindh has been blamed for playing a role in the death of Johnny “Mike” Spann, a U.S Marine turned CIA paramilitary operative who became the first American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan. Spann’s daughter, Allison, told Fox News in March that Lindh’s early release “feels like such a slap in the face.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, slammed the early release as an “unexplainable and unconscionable” decision, noting that Spann “was one of ours” and a person of “enormous integrity and courage.”
“We’re now allowing someone who was involved in his death out of jail after what is a relatively short sentence,” Pompeo said, echoing O’Neill’s contention that Lindh has been unrepentant.
(Video: YouTube/Associated Press)
“I think it calls for a review of our processes, all the things that went into this day, where he is being allowed out early. I think we need to review it all,” Pompeo, who served as CIA director under President Trump previously, said.
“He still, as I understand it, still is threatening the United States of America,” he added. “[Lindh is] still committed to the very jihad that he engaged in that killed a great American and a great CIA officer. There is something deeply troubling and wrong about this.”
Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also slammed the decision to release Lindh as “disgraceful” during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
(Video: YouTube/Fox News)
“He’s an American. He should have been tried as a traitor,” Kelly said. “At the very least he should have served out his whole sentence…which should have been life imprisonment.”