Moderate Threat From Recently Released Terrorists

The threat from terrorists recently released from prison is moderate given the small number of releases in connection with terrorism-related offenses in the past five years and the level of public scrutiny and supervised monitoring. High-profile releases such as those of John Walker Lindh, Shannon Conley, and Colleen LaRose, also known as “Jihad Jane,” have prompted the US government to propose the Terrorist Release Announcements to Counter Extremist Recidivism Act, or the TRACER Act. According to the think tank New America, 346 people have been charged and convicted of jihadist-related crimes since 9/11 and about 88 released. The Federal Bureau of Prisons estimates it will release 112 inmates with convictions relating to international terrorism between 2015 and 2020, with an additional 100 releases between 2021 and 2031.

In addition to Lindh, Conley and LaRose stated they would not give up their radical extremist beliefs upon their releases from prison. However, the majority of those released after being incarcerated for terrorism offenses have chosen to reject their violent extremist ideologies and join programs to counter violent extremism, including Ismail Royer, Jesse Morton, Bryant Neal Vinas, and LaRose’s co-conspirator, Mohammad Khalid.

In 2013, Lindh obtained Irish citizenship through his paternal grandmother. Lindh will likely be free to leave the country after the terms of his supervised release are met, and Ireland has stated that it will allow him entry. If he moves overseas, Lindh will most likely be heavily monitored by European intelligence services in the event he attempts to reengage in terrorism.

Currently, there are no releases scheduled for any terrorism-related convictions in New Jersey, and the threat to the State is low.

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at or 609-584-4000.