Soldier arrested on terror charges in Hawaii, FBI says

Posted at 6:34 AM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 06:34:14-04

An active-duty soldier based in Hawaii has been arrested on terrorism charges, the FBI said in a press release Monday.

Ikaika Kang, 34, who according to an affidavit was allegedly heard saying he wanted to 'kill a bunch of people," was taken into custody on Saturday on charges of providing material support to ISIS, according to the release.

The criminal complaint against Kang alleges that he pledged allegiance to ISIS and attempted to provide the organization with documents and military training, the FBI said.

“Terrorism is the FBI’s number one priority," FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul D. Delacourt said in a statement. "In fighting this threat, the Honolulu Division of the FBI works with its law enforcement partners and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In this case, the FBI worked closely with the U.S. Army to protect the citizens of Hawaii.”

He continued: "Kang has been under investigation by the U.S. Army and the FBI for over a year. FBI assets and Army investigative resources were continuously deployed to ensure the public’s safety during the course of this investigation and Kang’s eventual arrest."

Kang is believed to have acted alone, according to the press release. He was expected to make an appearance in federal court later on Monday.

Kang joined the Army in late 2001 and is currently assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 25th Infantry Division's combat aviation brigade, the helicopter unit that transports the division's soldiers.

Kang has been deployed overseas three times, most recently to Afghanistan from 2013 to 2014. He previously served a combat tour in Iraq from 2010 to 2011 and was deployed to South Korea from 2002 to 2003.

According to an FBI affidavit, Kang allegedly offered to use his training as an air traffic controller to make a cycle of systems for ISIS to use in correcting artillery or indirect fire strikes using drones.

He allegedly advised that ISIS would need handheld radios and a retail-brand drone costing $1,500 to carry out such attacks, the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, on or about July 8, after taking the ISIS pledge, Kang was allegedly heard saying “that he now wanted to take his rifle, his magazines, and ‘kill a bunch of people.’”

The affidavit said Kang was reprimanded on several occasions "for threatening to hurt or kill other hurt or kill other service members, and for arguing pro-ISIS views while at work and on-post." Because of those threats and remarks his security clearance was revoked in 2012, but reinstated the following year after he complied with requirements stemming from the investigation.

"In early 2016, it appeared that Kang was becoming radicalized, and in or about August 2016, the Army referred this matter to the FBI,” said the affidavit.

One hundred and twenty-eight individuals have been charged in the U.S. with offenses related to ISIS from March 2014 to June 2017, according to the George Washington University Extremism Tracker. Seventy-five of those individuals have pleaded or were found guilty and the vast majority are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

According to Seamus Hughes, of the GWU Extremism Tracker, Kang is the first active duty service member to be charged with material support for ISIS.

Earlier this year, former Virginia National Guardsman Mohamed Jalloh was sentenced to 11 years in prison for plotting to help ISIS by possibly launching a Fort-Hood style attack. Jalloh had served in the Virginia National Guard from 2009 to 2015. He was arrested in 2016 as part of an FBI sting operation.

Last September, Illinois National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds received a 30-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. Hasan and his cousin had plotted to attack the National Guard Armory in Joliet, Illinois, with rifles and grenades.