An American who joined al-Qaida could become a test case on whether a former terrorist can rejoin society.

Bryant Neal Vinas (VEE'-nuhs) was sentenced to time he's already served behind bars — about eight years — this week. U.S. authorities credit him with providing key information following his capture. He became an informant and testified in court about the terror network.

Vinas told a New York City judge that he sees himself making amends working as a counterterrorism analyst. But experts say that's not possible given his history.

The 34-year-old Vinas grew up on Long Island before converting to an extreme form of Islam and traveling to Pakistan in 2007. Prosecutors didn't oppose his release but got the judge to put him on probation for life.