Lindh converted to Sunni Islam at age 16 after dropping out of school and becoming obsessed with hip-hop and the movie Malcom X (he pretended to be a black rapper online and criticized others for "acting black"). Shortly after his father left his mother for another man, the culturally appropriating Lindh began to attend San Francisco Bay Area mosques. After a 10-month trip to Yemen in 1998 to study the Qur'an, Lindh returned home for eight months, only to return to the Middle East - eventually winding up in Afghanistan to take up arms against Northern Alliance fighters in May, 2001.
He was captured on November 25, 2001 and held at an a makeshift prison in Afghanistan, where he would participate in an extremely violent prisoner uprising (the battle of Qala-i-Jangi) that led to the death of CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann and hundreds of foreign fighters. Lindh was one of 86 prisoners who survived after hiding in a basement with a group of detainees who shot at Red Cross workers sent in to collect the dead, killing one.
And now, he's getting out of prison early - and people want to know why.
Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire have lots of questions for the Trump administration about the expected release on May 23 from federal prison of John Walker Lindh.