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Youth is no mitigating factor in Khalid's crimes [Letter]

The title of your editorial recommending leniency for teenage jihadist Mohammad Hassan Khalid focused on the tender age of the would-be terrorist, saying he has paid the price for his involvement in aiding terrorism by losing his scholarship and facing the prospect of being deported ("The teenage terrorist," Jan. 6).

Yet he has not paid the price. You cite the help he has given law enforcement but fail to note that he acted with full knowledge of "multiple important targets including individuals and media associated with Al Qaeda" in order to give such help. Nor do you note that his help was offered knowing that his age, 17, should free him from responsibility.

If he was bright enough to get a full scholarship to the Johns Hopkins University, he was bright enough to know whom and what he was aiding. He was a fifth columnist. After he is deported he could resume contact with the many terrorist targets he did not tell the FBI about and continue to work to destroy the country that harbored and honored him — we naive, trusting and inappropriately compassionate Americans.

Mr. Khalid was no tender lad. He coldly used his remarkable intelligence in the aid of terrorism, which means killing innocent Americans with deadly weapons and with deadly intent. Mr. Khalid deserves the full 10 year sentence recommended by prosecutors.

Was he "unable to comprehend the consequences of his actions?" A "misguided boy?" Please. Mr. Khalid's academic excellence does not support your argument of a lack of knowledge. Rather, it argues in favor of intention and comprehension. Ten years, then deportation.

Eileen Pollock

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