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World & Nation

FBI arrests U.S. soldier in Hawaii on terrorism charges

An active-duty soldier based in Hawaii pledged his allegiance to Islamic State, 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 appearance Monday in federal court in Honolulu. He was arrested Saturday on terrorism charges.

Birney Bervar, Kang’s attorney, said after Kang’s initial court appearance that he still didn’t know much about the case. He said he talked to Kang for just a few minutes.

The 26-page affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jimmy Chen lays out details of the yearlong investigation into the 34-year-old soldier, who was a onetime martial arts fighter who thought he was dealing with Islamic State agents. They were in fact undercover agents or sources.

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Among the charges is that Kang copied military secret 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 Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi.

This occurred on Saturday at a home in Honolulu, where he 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.

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said no documents made it to Islamic State.

Kang, who received extensive combat training, also helped purchase a drone that he believed would help Islamic State soldiers escape American tanks, the affidavit says.

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Kang, an air traffic controller based at Hawaii’s Wheeler Army Airfield, had his military clearance revoked in 2012 for making pro-Islamic State comments while at work and threatening to hurt or kill fellow service members.

His clearance was reinstated a year later after he completed military requirements.

However, the affidavit says the Army believed in 2016 that Kang was becoming radicalized and asked the FBI to investigate.

Kang has two firearms registered in his name, an assault rifle and a handgun. After the shooting last summer at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., he told an undercover source that the “shooter did what he had to do and later said that America is the only terrorist organization in the world,” according to the affidavit.

The document alleges that Kang also told the same source that “Hitler was right, saying he believed in the mass killing of Jews.”

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.


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