WASHINGTON — John Walker Lindh should have completed the entire length of his 20-year prison sentence, Sen. John Cornyn told TMN in an interview on Thursday — hours after the man better known as “the American Taliban” was released after serving 17 years.
“I think he should have served the full sentence,” Cornyn (R-Texas) said.
TMN asked two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee for comment.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he not was familiar with the case beyond what he had recently read and did not want to comment further.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) declined to comment.
Lindh, 38, was released this morning from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. for good behavior. He is on probation for the remaining three years of his sentence.
The terms of Lindh’s probation state he is not allowed to possess or read extremist material, he must undergo therapy and he cannot possess electronic devices that provide internet access.
In July 2002, Lindh pleaded guilty to supporting the Taliban, a terrorist group that then ruled Afghanistan. The group is believed to have been involved in planning the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In November 2001, Lindh was captured by the Afghan Northern Alliance, a group fighting alongside U.S. troops. The former California resident was discovered among a group of Taliban fighters in the aftermath of a prisoner revolt that resulted in the death of a CIA agent. He was later interrogated by the CIA and placed in U.S. custody.
Lindh has said he no longer supports terrorism, however many U.S. intelligence officials still consider him to be a security risk.
NBC News corresponded with Lindh while he was in prison. In some of the letters, Lindh expressed empathy for the terrorist group ISIS. Lindh referred to himself as Yahya Lindh in the letters.
“We are in prison due to our beliefs and the practice of our religion, not for committing any crime,” a 2014 letter states.
“The Islamic State is clearly very sincere and serious about fulfilling the long-neglected religious obligation of establishing a caliphate through armed struggle, which is the only correct method,” a 2015 letter states.
Lindh converted to Islam when he was a teenager.