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FBI: Hawaii soldier attempted to give Islamic State drone, classified documents

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    FBI agent Paul Delacourt, right, spoke to the media with assistant U.S. attorney Elliot Enoki, left, at the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building today.

  • JAMM AQUINO/JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A duplicate photo of a courtroom sketch by Kosta Kulundzic of today’s hearing.

  • JAMM AQUINO/JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Birney Bervar, defense attorney for Ikaika Kang, spoke to the media outside of the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building today.

FBI agents in Honolulu have arrested a Schofield Barracks soldier on suspicion of terrorism and connections with the Islamic State group.

FBI spokesman Arnold Laanui told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, was arrested late Saturday night by special agents of the FBI SWAT team.

A criminal complaint filed by the FBI today said Kang, of Waipahu, attempted to provide “material support and resources,” including classified and unclassified military documents and a drone to the organization.

The complaint says he attempted to share the resources with “persons he believed would pass the documents to ISIS.” It says Kang also made a video to teach the group combat techniques.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield appointed attorney Birney Bervar to represent Kang, and set a bail hearing for Thursday.

The office of the U.S. Attorney has filed papers seeking to have Kang held in custody without the opportunity for release.

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said the FBI believes Kang was a lone actor and wasn’t affiliated with anyone who poses a threat.

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.

An FBI special agent made the allegations in a complaint filed in federal court in Honolulu, where Kang made an initial appearance this afternoon. FBI officials said they and Army investigators have been working on the case for over a year.

His military service record said Kang was an air traffic control operator at Wheeler Army Airfield.

According to the criminal complaint:

>> As far back as 2011, Kang had made threatening statements and had been reprimanded for allegedly threatening to hurt or kill other service-members and for arguing pro-ISIS views while on duty.

>> The military revoked his security clearance in 2012 because of his actions, but reinstated it a year later after he complied with requirements from the investigation.

>>By early 2016, it appeared that he was becoming radicalized and the Army referred the case to the FBI in August.

>> In March 2017, Kang told an FBI source that the Orlando, Fla., Pulse nightclub shooter did what he had to do and that America was the only terrorist organization. He also told the source that Hitler was right and he believed in the mass killing of Jews.

>> In November 2016 in Florida, an undercover FBI agent was introduced to Kang, who later told the agent he wanted to join ISIS. Over the next several months, Kang allegedly tried to give classified Army documents to undercover agents he believed could deliver them to ISIS.

>> Kang offered to use his air traffic control training to help ISIS use drones to direct artillery fire. On Saturday, he participated in the purchase of a drone and camera equipment intended for ISIS. He also pledged allegiance to ISIS and told the undercover agents that he wanted to take his rifle and “kill a bunch of people.”

He was arrested that night.

Lt. Col. Curt Kellogg, a spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division, said in an e-mail to the Star-Advertiser today, “I can confirm an active duty soldier assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, was arrested by the FBI July 8. I would refer you to the FBI for further questions about the arrest and charges.”

Kang enlisted in the Army in December 2001 just months after the Sept. 11 attacks. He served in Iraq from March 2010 to February 2011 and Afghanistan from July 2013 to April 2014. Kang was assigned to the headquarters of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Army records show he was active duty and an air traffic control operator, with numerous medals and commendations, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Marine Qualification Expert Rifle Badge, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Criminal complaint against Ikaika Kang by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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