A former U.S. Army sergeant based in Hawaii pleaded guilty on Wednesday to four counts of providing material support to the Islamic State, the first time the state has seen a conviction linked to terrorism.
Ikaika Erik Kang, 35, pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the notorious ISIS leader, during a faux ceremony staged by the FBI as part of a sting operation. He proceeded to kiss an ISIS flag, and expressed his desire to “go to downtown Honolulu and Waikiki strip and start shooting,” according to a statement released by the Department of Justice on Wednesday. (RELATED: ISIS Member Who Applied For Refugee Status Has Been Arrested On Murder Charges In California)
Kang met several times with FBI informants posed as jihadis and provided them with classified military documents, which he intended would be passed on to ISIS. The documents included classified air traffic control documents that describe call signs, aircraft types, route points, directives, mission procedures, and radio frequencies as well as the U.S. military’s “weapons file,” which provided insight to ISIS into the U.S.’ armament capabilities.
The DOJ believes Kang’s interest in ISIS peaked in 2016, as he watched numerous videos of the terrorist group carrying out acts of violence and brutality against civilians and military personnel and expressed a desire to partake in the violence on behalf of ISIS, according to information gathered through FBI surveillance of him.
He owned an AR-15-style assault rifle and a pistol, both of which he kept at his residence on Oahu, at the time his statements were being made. He was arrested in July 2017. Kang faces up to 25 years in prison and at least 20 years, and up to life, of supervised release.
“Kang swore to defend the United States as a member of our military, but betrayed his country by swearing allegiance to ISIS and attempting to provide material support to the foreign terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers in a statement released by the DOJ.
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