US

Father of CIA Officer Killed After 9/11 Asks Trump to Block Release of John Walker Lindh

By Zachary Stieber

The father of the first American to be slain in action after the 9/11 terrorists attacks wants President Donald Trump to block the release of John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban.”

Johnny Spann, 70, said that Lindh should serve his full sentence, which would keep him in prison until November 2021. Instead, Lindh is slated to be released on good behavior on May 23 despite not renouncing Islamic extremism.

“I don’t know if there’s anything that President Trump can do, but there’s gotta be somebody who can do something,” Spann told the Washington Examiner.

Spann’s son, Johnny “Mike” Spann, was 32 when he was killed by Lindh and other prisoners in Afghanistan in 2001 when the prisoners overwhelmed him and fellow CIA officer David Tyson.

CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann, 32, who was killed in a prison riot in Afghanistan in 2001, seen in an undated family photo. (CIA/Getty Images)
Johnny Spann (center), father of CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann, holds hands with his wife Gail (right) and daughter Tonya Ingram after viewing his son’s casket aboard an Air Force aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base on Dec. 2, 2001. (JOE MARQUETTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Shannon Spann, carrying her infant son Jake, follows the coffin containing the body of her husband, CIA agent Johnny “Mike” Spann, during a full honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Dec. 10, 2001. (Robert Trippett/Getty Images)

Tyson survived by running for his life.

Johnny Spann said that he believes Lindh is responsible for his son’s death.

“Everybody in that place knew what was going to happen, but he said nothing,” he said, adding that Lindh “knew that terrorists had been dispatched to the United States to kill innocent people [on 9/11], but he didn’t warn anyone.”

“This guy has not changed and he’s no model prisoner. He’s still a radical Islamic terrorist. If anything, he is more radicalized than ever.”

Lindh was convicted of providing material aid to the Taliban terror group,” he added. “Some wanted him tried on treason charges, which would have resulted in the death penalty if he was convicted.

lindh court sketch
“American Taliban” John Walker Lindh with his attorney George Harris (R) and U.S. Attorney Randy Bellows (second from right) appear before Judge T.S. Ellis III at the U.S. courthouse in Alexandria, Va. on Feb. 15, 2002. (Shawn Thew/AFP/Getty Images)
John Walker Lindh is shown in this undated photo bound to a stretcher after his capture by U.S. troops at Camp Rhino in Khandahar, Afghanistan. This image is a copy of a photo released by Lindh’s defense lawyers after a discovery hearing in the U.S. court in Alexandria, Va. on April 1, 2002, (Photo by Getty Images)
14-year-old John Walker Lindh appears in this file photo. (Lindh Family/Getty Images)

According to the National Counterterrorism Center, he remains radicalized.

“As of May 2016, John Walker Lindh—who is scheduled to be released in May 2019 after being convicted of supporting the Taliban—continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts,” according to a 2017 document from the center obtained by Foreign Policy marked “Official Use Only.”

Intelligence officers discovered that Lindh “told a television news producer that he would continue to spread violent extremist Islam upon his release.”

Lindh has been planning for his release and at one point came up with the idea of moving to Ireland after being released, according to the Bureau of Prisons Intelligence. He obtained Irish citizenship in 2013, thanks to his paternal grandmother being born in the country. A spokesman for the Irish Department of Justice told the Times in February that an Irish citizen may not be prevented from entering the country after some speculated that authorities there could block Lindh from entering.