Ikaika Erik Kang, decorated Army soldier arrested for supply docs & training to ISIS - pic.twitter.com/0ywI26QaAK— Blanche V. Mercaldi (@tammytabby) July 11, 2017
A Hawaiian soldier has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide classified military documents, support and training to ISIS.
Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, who is with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa, Hawaii, was taken into custody during the weekend by an FBI SWAT team. According to the FBI, Kang converted to Islam during one of his deployments and swore a pledge of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, and stated he wanted to kill a “bunch of people.”
The Army and the FBI investigated Kang for more than a year, said Paul D. Delacourt, an FBI special agent in charge in Honolulu. The Army tipped off the FBI about Kang in August, stating he had been making threatening remarks and radical statements since early 2011.
Kang had the Army’s highest level of combat instructor training and used his prowess to conduct combat training for a person who he claimed was a member of ISIS, according to the affidavit. The report also said the sessions were recorded “so they could be used by ISIS to train other fighters.”
In March, an undercover FBI operative discovered Kang researched “the most effective and painful ways people had been tortured” and was angry at a civilian who had taken away his air traffic controller’s license. The intelligence official also said that while he was discussing the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Kang said “the shooter did what he had to do and later said that America is the only terrorist organization in the world.”
The spy also reported the soldier wanted to leave for Turkey because ISIS had a consulate there and even discussed the possibility of joining the organization.
Kang also said he believed in the mass extermination of those of Jewish faith and said “Hitler was right.”
After the FBI raided Kang’s computers, they found his hard drives were filled with 18 military documents marked “SECRET,” 16 of which still remain classified. They also found 500 documents referring to violence and ISIS, as well as 13 issues of “Inspire,” the al-Qaeda magazine. The FBI also reported Kang bought a $1,100 drone equipped with a camera and told undercover spies it could be used to allow ISIS fighters escape during battles with the United States.
Kang’s attorney, Birney Bervar, told NBC News his client “may have some service-related mental health issues which the government was aware of but neglected to treat.”
Kang’s father, Clifford, said he was “just in shock” over his son. After Kang converted to Islam, he would teach his father the Quran, Clifford said.
“I listened to him, but other than teaching or learning that belief, there was no mention of him going astray,” he said.
He also said his son may be suffering from PTSD from his time in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Kang made an appearance in a federal court on Monday and was held pending a detention hearing on Thursday. A preliminary hearing is set for him on July 24.