A senior NCO stationed in the US Army’s Schofield Barracks in Hawaii was arrested this weekend after allegedly attempting to provide military documents and a drone to the ISIS terrorist group.
The soldier, an Air Traffic Controller, Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang, 34, was arrested late Saturday night by an FBI SWAT team at the Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, in a statement released by the FBI.
FBI Special Agent Jimmy Chen alleged in an affidavit that Kang tried to give classified and unclassified military documents and a drone to undercover agents and informants whom he believed would pass the information on to ISIS. Kang is also accused of attempting to teach the group combat techniques.
Most notably, Chen alleged that Kang swore an oath of loyalty — known as bayat — to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday, shortly before his arrest. After doing so, Kang allegedly told an undercover agent that he wanted to use his rifle to “kill a bunch of people.”
The FBI said it believes that Kang, a member of the 25th Infantry Division and a trained air traffic controller, was a lone actor and is not associated with others who may present a threat to Hawaii.
Chen’s affidavit says that Kang admitted trying to transfer classified documents to ISIS, but claimed the information was “old and no longer posed any harm to the United States.”
Kang has been under investigation by the U.S. Army and the FBI for over a year, according to Delacourt. The affidavit says the Army reported Kang to the FBI in August 2016 after “it appeared that Kang was becoming radicalized.”
The affidavit alleges that Kang had a history of “threatening statements.” At one point in 2012, Kang’s security clearance was suspended after he was reprimanded repeatedly for “threatening to hurt or kill other service members, and for arguing pro-ISIS views while at work and on-post.” The document claims Kang’s clearance was reinstated the following year after he complied with “military requirements stemming from the investigation.”
Kang also allegedly told the informant that Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed nearly 50 people at an Orlando gay bar in June 2016 “did what he had to do.” He also allegedly said “America is the only terrorist organization” and that he “believed in the mass killing of Jews.”
Kang, a Hawaii native, enlisted in the Army in December 2001, months after the 9/11 terror attacks. He served in Iraq from March 2010 to February 2011 and Afghanistan from July 2013 to April 2014.
Kang’s father, Clifford, said that his son may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from his tours overseas.
“He’s a great kid. He’s not real outgoing, he’s never been, but neither was I,” Kang told Hawaii News Now. “But other than that he’s a great kid, a normal kid who grew up in Waimanalo.”
While no classified documents ever made it into the hands of ISIS, this is a serious incident and the military and FBI will handle it as such. It is possible that Kang is suffering from PTSD or some other related mental illness but that may not stop his prosecution.
He was erroneously credited with having “extensive combat training” by several news outlets. What they failed to mention that it was “Level IV Tactical Combat Instructor” status, which gives Kang the ability to serve as an instructor in combatives to other soldiers. At the time of the events in this case, skill level IV was the highest level of training available and required the completion of a 160-hour, four-week course.
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