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John Walker Lindh Documentary Announced By Showtime On Day “American Taliban” Released From Prison

Greg Evans

With the release from prison today of John Walker Lindh, Showtime Documentary Films announced the two-years-in-production Detainee 001, director Greg Barker’s account of the case.

Barker (The Final Year, Manhunt, Legion of Brothers) will draw on “unique access to the world of intelligence and special operations,” Showtime says, with Detainee 001 “piecing together the defining yet almost-forgotten origin story of post-9/11 America.”

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“From the battlefield to the courtroom, Barker’s film confronts the unresolved issues at the heart of Lindh’s case, including his role in the uprising that led to the first casualty of the war in Afghanistan, CIA officer Johnny Micheal Spann,” according to Showtime. “Even after nearly 20 years, clarity on justice remains elusive, leaving a nagging open sore at the heart of the American soul.”

The film has been in production since 2017, and is being trumpeted by the premium cable channel as the definitive account of Lindh’s story, with never-before-revealed details from his legal case. Showtime promises that the film “unpacks challenging truths and shifting allegiances behind one of the most compelling and unresolved mysteries of the post-9/11 age.”

Barker said, in a statement, “I’ve been intrigued by John Walker Lindh’s story since my first trip to Afghanistan back in 2002, as it has all the hallmarks of a great high-stakes drama, played out on the battlefield and in the courtroom; now, with the perspective of time, it’s clear this is one of those origin stories that came to define an era, and still resonates today.”

He continued: “The rush of headlines surrounding Lindh’s release from federal prison in the early hours of this morning is reminiscent of the intense news coverage of his capture back in 2001.” The director expressed gratitude to Showtime “for taking the long view and putting this film into production back in 2017, as one of the privileges of making documentary films is that we have the time to take a step back, figure out what really happened and tell a compelling story that is accurate, gripping and timeless.”

Calling the Lindh saga “central to the most controversial legal issues in the post 9/11 era of the United States,” Vinnie Malhotra, Showtime Networks’ Exec VP, Non-Fiction Programming, said Detainee 001 “will be particularly important in advancing the discussion of fundamental assumptions about politics, ideology, terrorism and justice in America.”

Detainee 001 is being produced for Showtime by Passion Pictures. Producers include director Barker, John Battsek and Tresha Mabile.

Today’s announcement did not include the premiere date.

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