US soldier arrested after pledging loyalty to IS
An active duty US soldier was arrested on terrorism charges after authorities say he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and said he wanted to “kill a bunch of people.” The FBI arrested Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang, 34, in a suburb of Honolulu over the weekend after a yearlong investigation involving multiple undercover officers and confidential informants. He made an initial appearance in federal court on Monday.
Kang’s court-appointed defense attorney, Birney Bervar, said it appears his client may suffer from service-related mental health issues of which the government was aware but neglected to treat. Bervar declined to elaborate. He said Kang was “a decorated veteran of two deployments” to Iraq and Afghanistan. A 26-page affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jimmy Chen filed in court Monday detailed how Kang thought he was dealing with people working for Islamic State but who were actually undercover agents.
Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said Kang gave military documents to people he believed would give them to Islamic State, but none of them got to the organization. He told reporters the FBI believed Kang was a lone actor and wasn’t affiliated with anyone who poses a threat. On Saturday, agents arrested him after he pledged loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and said he wanted to “take his rifle, his magazines and kill ‘a bunch of people.’”
Kang and the agents together made combat training videos he believed would be taken to the Middle East to help prepare the group’s soldiers to fight American forces, according to the affidavit. Kang had received the highest level of combat training available in the Army and was a mixed martial arts enthusiast. Also on Saturday, Kang and an undercover agent allegedly went shopping for a drone to give to Islamic State fighters.
Kang said the drone would allow the fighters to view the battlefield from above “to find tank positions and avenues for escape” from US soldiers, the affidavit said. He used his debit card to pay nearly $1,400 for the drone, Go-Pro camera, and related equipment. The agent paid him $700 to split the cost. Kang, a trained air traffic controller based at Hawaii’s Wheeler Army Airfield, had his military clearance revoked in 2012 for making pro-Islamic State comments while at work and on-post and threatening to hurt or kill fellow service members. —AP