Ikaika Erik Kang converted to a religion that preaches the mass murder of unbelievers. And the usual things happened.
Ikaika Erik Kang, 35, a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army stationed at Schofield Barracks, pleaded guilty today in federal court to four counts of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Kang was indicted on terrorism charges on July 19, 2017. As part of a plea agreement reached with the United States, Kang agreed to serve 25 years in prison and at least 20 years, and up to life, of supervised release.
According to court documents and information presented in court, Kang became sympathetic to ISIS by at least early 2016. He regularly watched ISIS propaganda videos online, including videos that depicted ISIS members violently executing civilian and military victims. Kang made numerous statements in support of ISIS, expressed a desire to join ISIS, and spoke approvingly about committing acts of violence. At the time, Kang made these statements, he owned an AR-15-style assault rifle and a pistol, both of which he kept at his residence on Oahu. Kang was under ongoing physical surveillance by law enforcement from the beginning of the investigation until the time of his eventual arrest.
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.
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.
The University of Hawaii and Judge Derrick Watson presumably had no comment. His father has been quite baffled.
Kang said his son had converted to Islam, but did not appear to be an extremist.
“He told me he’s with the Muslim faith now. I’m a Catholic so I figured well, that’s alright,” Kang said.
“There’s good teachings of the Muslim faith and the bad. And from time to time when he did live here, he would teach me the Koran. So I listened to him but other than teaching or learning that belief, there was no mention of him going astray.”
The poisoned jelly beans metaphor comes to mind. There are good teachings. But when the bad ones urge mass murder, and are practiced regularly, do you feel safe with those jelly beans?