'American Taliban' Charged in Federal Court
By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2002 John Walker Lindh, the so- called American Taliban member who was captured after a November prison uprising in Afghanistan, has been charged in federal court.
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the charges in a press conference today. Walker, who goes by his mother's last name, was charged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The charges included conspiracy to kill nationals of the United States of America overseas; providing material support and resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations; and engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban.
Walker could face life in prison if convicted of all charges, Ashcroft said.
"The United States does not casually or capriciously charge one of its own citizens with providing support to terrorists," Ashcroft said. He said the events of Sept. 11 compelled him to do so today.
Ashcroft said the charges are based on voluntary statements Walker made after being captured. The complaint against Walker alleges he knowingly and purposely allied himself with terrorist organizations.
"(Walker) chose to embrace fanatics, and his allegiance to those fanatics and terrorists never faltered, not even with the knowledge that they had murdered thousands of his countrymen," Ashcroft said.
The attorney general said Walker is in the process of being transferred from U.S. military control to the FBI. He offered no further details.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said Jan. 14 that Walker was still being held aboard the USS Bataan.
Walker was captured after a deadly late-November prison uprising at Mazar-e Sharif, in which CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed.