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RESPONSE TO TERROR

Question Is Answered: It's John Lindh

January 25, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

What is the name of the so-called American Talib?

What to call the 20-year-old from Northern California has been a persistent question since he was captured in Afghanistan.

He was born John Philip Walker Lindh, according to his father. As a teenager, he chose to use the surname Walker, his mother's maiden name. After graduating from high school, he moved to the Middle East to study Islam and while there, he went by the names Suleyman al-Faris and Abdul Hamid.

When he was taken into custody in Afghanistan, he identified himself to authorities as John Walker. An FBI affidavit filed in the case identifies him that way, and the government, in its criminal complaint, called him Walker. In public remarks about the case, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft also often refers to him as Walker.

But on Thursday, his chief defense attorney, James J. Brosnahan, sought to put an end to the confusion. Hereafter, the lawyer said, his client would be known as John Lindh.

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