Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hawaii soldier Indicted for attempting to provide material support to ISIS

A federal grand jury in Honolulu indicted a U.S. soldier Friday (July 21) for allegedly attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail.

An indictment was returned July 21 charging Sgt. First Class Kang, 34, stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Sgt. Ikaika Kang
The grand jury indictment, which was filed on July 19, charged Kang with four counts of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, based on events that occurred in Hawaii between June 21 and July 8. 

The indictment and an earlier criminal complaint allege that Kang met with undercover agents of the FBI whom he believed to be affiliated with ISIS and provided military information, some of which was classified at the SECRET level. 

Kang is also charged with providing property (a drone,s military clothing and equipment) and training (instruction on combat techniques and weapons training which was videotaped for future use by ISIS) to undercover agents whom he believed to be affiliated with ISIS.

Kang will appear in court on July 24, for an arraignment and plea on the charges, at which time a trial date will be scheduled.

Kang's court-appointed attorney, Birney Bervar, told The Associated Press Friday that the indictment was expected. Bervar said his client was "a decorated American soldier for 10 years, goes to Afghanistan and comes back and things start going off the rails.” He said his client will plead not guilty on Monday when a federal judge will set a trial date.

Bervar said he is working on getting Kang a mental health evaluation and that his client may suffer from service-related mental health issues.

Kang enlisted in the Army in December 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks. He served in South Korea from 2002 to 2003. He deployed to Iraq from March 2010 to February 2011. 

Sgt. Ikaika Kang had been trained as an air traffic controller and was one of the army's highly trained combat instructors.

The Army said it was aware of Kang's pro-Isis sentiments in 2011 but kept him in the service to build a case and to see if he was connected to a terrorist group. The FBI said that Kang acted on his own accord.

Kang's father told Honolulu television station KHON and the Star-Advertiser newspaper his son may have had post-traumatic stress disorder. Kang told the newspaper he became concerned after his son's return from Afghanistan. He said his son became withdrawn after Afghanistan.

"He was reprimanded on several occasions for threatening to hurt or kill other service members, and for arguing pro-ISIS views while at work and on-post,” according to the affidavit. “Due to these remarks and threats, Kang’s security clearance was revoked in 2012, but reinstated the following year after Kang complied with military requirements stemming from the investigation.”

He was assigned to duty in Afghanistan in 2013-2014.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted of the charges, 

Kang faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each count. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Taryn Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Sorenson and Marc Wallenstein.

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