May 21, 2019 – Today we offer our prayers to, and stand with the family of, fallen CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann. Mike was the first American to lose his life in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He was tragically killed on November 25, 2001, during a jihadist uprising at the Qali-Jangi prison in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan where he was conducting interviews of the prisoners.
One of the terrorists believed responsible for Mike’s death – John Walker Lindh, aka the “American Taliban” – is set to be released from prison this week – on May 23rd, three years early. In February 2002, Lindh pleaded guilty to supporting the Taliban and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Lindh’s early release is an injustice to Mike Spann’s family and all CIA and U.S. military personnel who were the first into Afghanistan to capture those responsible for killing nearly 3,000 Americans. Lindh is a traitor who betrayed his country and many experts believe he will continue to support terrorism upon his release from prison.
Mike Spann is an American hero. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, attaining the rank of Captain. In 1999, he joined the CIA and served as a paramilitary officer in the Clandestine Service. George Tenet, Director of the CIA at the time, described Mike as a “quiet warrior” who “tracked the authors and allies of terror” and “placed his own life in jeopardy to save the lives of others.”
In 2002, Freedom Alliance posthumously honored Mike Spann with our Defender of Freedom Award. He is remembered on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters and was posthumously awarded the Intelligence Star and the Exceptional Service Medallion. Spann was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
We ask all Americans to pray for Mike Spann’s family and to contact Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama who is investigating the circumstances of Lindh’s early release.