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2020

U.S. Soldier In Hawaii Is Indicted On Charges Of Supporting ISIS

Two images taken from an FBI video and provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii show Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang kissing an ISIS flag, left, before putting the flag to his forehead, right. Kang is accused of pledging allegiance to ISIS at a house in Honolulu on July 8.

U.S. Army Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang is facing four charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, accused of sharing secret information and supplying a drone and other gear to undercover FBI agents he believed to be affiliated with the terrorist group.

Kang, 34, first met the agents in Hawaii, where he has been stationed. He now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each of the four counts if he’s convicted of the charges, the Justice Department says. He is slated to appear in court for an arraignment and plea on Monday, July 24.

Kang was arrested on July 8, after he swore an oath of loyalty to ISIS and its leader, according to the affidavit that was filed last week. That FBI document quoted him as saying he wanted to take his rifle and kill "a bunch of people."

At the time, the soldier possessed two firearms that were registered in his name — an AR-15 style rifle and a .40 caliber pistol.

The Justice Department filed a grand jury indictment against Kang in Hawaii’s District Court on Friday. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks, part of a large military complex that includes Wheeler Army Airfield, about 20 miles northwest of Honolulu.

The indictment accuses Kang of sharing military documents, some of which were classified as secret. It also says he provided "a GoPro Karma drone, a chest rig (which is a piece of military-style equipment worn over the shoulders that has chest pouches and is typically used to hold tactical equipment, ammunition, and other military gear), and other military-style clothing and gear."

In the Army, Kang had served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Classified as an air traffic controller, he is also an expert in hand-to-hand combat. The government says he wanted to use those skills to help ISIS, by making a combat training video and offering advice about correcting artillery fire.

The FBI affidavit against Kang described him making a string of threatening statements that went back as far as 2011.

"He was reprimanded on several occasions for threatening to hurt or kill other service members, and for arguing pro-ISIS views while at work and on-post," the affidavit said, adding that his remarks led to his security clearance being revoked in 2012 — and reinstated one year later.

The affidavit also describes Kang being angry at someone outside of the military whom Kang blamed for losing his air traffic controller’s license.

Kang was arrested on July 8; news of his detention didn’t emerge until the government filed court documents last week. Here’s how NPR’s Barbara Campbell laid out the start of the case against him:

"An FBI agent named Jimmy Chen’s affidavit filed with a federal court in Honolulu says Kang’s superiors became concerned that he had been radicalized and called in the FBI. Agents secretly examined his computer hard drives and found [classified] documents, along with videos and other materials that led them to go undercover to make him think he was in touch with the extremist group.

"Kang told the agent, who posed as guest lecturer, that ISIS was ‘just fighting people who were committing genocide.’ But he said he was wary of meeting with ISIS in person or on the Internet because he was afraid the FBI ‘will show up at my door.’ "