Homeland Security

U.S. Soldier Who Pledged Allegiance to ISIS Pleads Guilty for Supporting Terror Group

A U.S. Army soldier arrested last year after pledging allegiance to ISIS and threatening to conduct terror attacks in his native Hawaii, where he was stationed at the time, pleaded guilty yesterday to all four charges he faced of terror support.

Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was arrested in July 2017 after a year-long investigation. Following his guilty plea, he has agreed to serve 25 years in federal prison.

Kang was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii outside Honolulu and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. He had previously served on tours in South Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The criminal complaint alleged that he “attempted to provide material support to ISIS by providing both classified military documents, and other sensitive but unclassified military documents, to persons he believed would pass the documents to ISIS.”

The Army reported Kang to the FBI for extremist statements, and the FBI opened its investigation in August 2016.

A FBI informant told agents that Kang watched ISIS propaganda videos for hours each day.

According to a Justice Department press release announcing Kang’s plea agreement, Kang had collected classified documents and offered them to the terror group:

In late June and early July of 2018, Kang met numerous times with undercover FBI agents who he believed had connections to ISIS. He provided them with sensitive, non-public military documents, some of which were classified at the SECRET level, which he intended that they later provide to ISIS.

The documents included, among other things: classified air traffic control documents that describe call signs, aircraft types, route points, directives, mission procedures, and radio frequencies; the U.S. military’s “weapons file,” which describes all the armament capabilities of the U.S. armed forces; details about a sensitive mobile airspace management system used by the U.S. military; and documents containing personally identifiable information of U.S. service members.

Kang later provided the undercover agents with a commercially purchased small aerial drone, a military chest rig, and other military-style clothing and gear. Kang described how ISIS could operationally utilize the drone to track U.S. troop movements and gain tactical advantage by evading American armored vehicles.

Kang then met two additional undercover FBI personnel, one who purported to be a high-ranking ISIS leader, or “sheikh,” and another who played the role of an ISIS fighter. Kang lead them in a hand-to-hand military combatives training session using his weapons, in order to train the purported ISIS member in fighting techniques. The sessions were video-recorded, with the understanding that the video would be taken back to ISIS-controlled territory and used to train other ISIS fighters in hand-to-hand combat and weapons techniques.

What precipitated his arrest, DOJ officials say, was a videotaped ceremony in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS in both English and Arabic, and threatened to conduct terror attacks:

On July 8, 2017, Kang swore an oath of loyalty, known as “bayat,” to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a ceremony conducted by the purported ISIS sheikh. After the ceremony, Kang kissed the ISIS flag. Kang then said that he wanted to get his rifle and go and fight; just go to downtown Honolulu and Waikiki strip and start shooting. Kang was subsequently arrested and taken into custody.

Among the evidence gathered by the FBI were classified documents discovered on his computer during a six-week training course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 2016. Agents discovered 18 documents classified “secret,” as well as 2,000 videos and documents related to ISIS.

Kang had his security clearance revoked in 2012 following his tour in Iraq after making threatening statements targeting fellow soldiers and getting into arguments supporting Islamic extremist views. His security clearance was restored, however, the following year after complying with “military requirements stemming from the investigation.”

In 2012 NPR reported that as many as 100 Islamic extremists were under investigation in the U.S. military:

No additional figures about ongoing investigations related to active duty personnel have been reported. However, Fox News reported last year that a classified inspector general report found problems with a program to fast-track foreign U.S. military recruits towards U.S. citizenship. New applications for the program have been suspended. The program, begun in 2009, now has 10,000 members — and some of those program participants are now missing.

As I reported here at PJ Media last year, the U.S. and other Western countries are on high alert for possible ISIS infiltrators into their respective armed services.