The Associated PressHONOLULU (AP) — An active duty soldier based in Hawaii pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, helped purchase a drone for it to use against American forces and said he wanted to use his rifle to “kill a bunch of people,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Honolulu. He was arrested Saturday on terrorism charges.
Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said Kang gave military documents to people he believed would give them to ISIL, but none of them got to the organization. He told reporters the FBI believes Kang was a lone actor and wasn’t affiliated with anyone who poses a threat.
Kang’s court-appointed defense attorney, Birney 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.
The 26-page affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jimmy Chen details the yearlong investigation into the 34-year-old soldier, who thought he was dealing with ISIL agents but were undercover agents or sources instead.
Among the charges was that Kang copied secret military documents in 2015 and wanted to provide them to the organization, according to the affidavit. It also says Kang admitted that he voluntarily pledged loyalty to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The pledge occurred on Saturday at a home in Honolulu, where Kang thought he was meeting an actual member of the organization, the affidavit says. They made combat training videos he believed would be taken back to the Middle East to help prepare the group’s soldiers to fight American forces, according to the affidavit.
Kang, who received extensive combat training, also helped purchase a drone Saturday that he believed would help ISIL soldiers evade U.S. tanks in battle, explaining U.S. tank crews were highly trained and difficult to defeat. Kang told the undercover agents that the drone would allow ISIL members to view the battlefield from above “to find tank positions and avenues for escape.”
Kang, a trained air traffic controller based at Hawaii’s Wheeler Army Airfield, had his military clearance revoked in 2012 for making pro-ISIL comments while at work and on-post and threatening to hurt or kill fellow service members.
His clearance was reinstated a year later after he completed military requirements.