US sol­dier ar­rested af­ter pledg­ing loy­alty to IS

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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