Former intel analyst who was in Afghanistan at time of John Walker Lindh capture sets NYT straight

Former intel analyst who was in Afghanistan at time of John Walker Lindh capture sets NYT straight
John Walker Lindh (Image: YouTube screen grab via Fox News)

When it was announced last week that “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh was being released from prison early on good behavior, Americans blinked. Some wondered why the first U.S.-born enemy combatant captured on the battlefield in the global war on terror was being released at all. Most cringed at the thought, especially in light of reports that he is still committed to “waging jihad” against the U.S.

Some thoughtful journalists on the Left penned articles with titles like “As John Walker Lindh walks out of prison, we have to figure out what awaits him.” Notice the authors’ sole concern is what awaits Lindh, not what he may have in store for us, his sworn enemy.

For its part, the New York Times on Thursday ran a helpful op-ed by John Wray, identified as “a novelist who has traveled as a journalist in Afghanistan.” The piece opens with the fiction “that there was a time when” the U.S. was “fairly cozy with the Taliban.” Apart from being untrue, the claim is irrelevant since at the time when the U.S. negotiated indirectly with the Taliban over an Afghan oil pipeline, Lindh was a small child.

But Wray is just getting warmed up. He goes on to submit that Lindh, who “had enlisted as a simple foot soldier in a strictly regional conflict between the Taliban and a group of rival warlords,” was never at war with the U.S. Sure, he was taken prisoner by American troops and was present during the prison uprising that claimed the life of CIA adviser Johnny Micheal Spann, but “[t]here was no evidence that this young American had taken an active part in the violence — in fact, it was later determined that he had been hiding in the basement for the bulk of the conflict.”

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In brief, what condemned Lindh to federal prison time here in the U.S. was his American citizenship.

The day after the Times ran Wray’s fanciful account (Wray is a novelist, keep in mind), Jason Buttrill, a former intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense, crafted a rebuttal in the form of a Twitter thread. In it, Buttrill writes that he was in Afghanistan as an intel analyst when Lindh was brought to his patrol base for questioning. Here are several of his observations:

Maybe John Wray and his Times editors can sleep easy now, confident in the fiction that John Walker Lindh was a victim of circumstance, but those of us living in the real world have reasons to be concerned.

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LU Staff

LU Staff

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