Since the beginning of the Global War on Terror, military bases across the United States have been targeted by terrorists for violence, leading to infamous attacks like the one carried out by Nidal Hassan. While most soldiers would never think about turning their arms on their brethren, some are not so steadfast and honorable.
For one soldier, 35-year-old Ikaika Erik Kang, who was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, his willingness to carry out a suicide attack on behalf of the ‘Islamic State’ earned him 25 years in prison, followed with a possible lifetime of supervision. His sentencing is set for December 12, at which time his punishment will be handed down.
According to the Department of Justice, Kang, a U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (E-7), considered a suicide attack on his own base.
He was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu at the time that he considered taking the lives of his fellow servicemembers in the name of the Islamic State.
On Wednesday, August 29, he pleaded guilty to four counts of providing material support to ISIS.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said that the platoon leader “betrayed his country” by swearing allegiance not only to a foreign entity, but to ISIS, and then providing support to the terrorist organization.
Court documents state that Kang told a confidential source that he was going to stay in the United States Army until he became a Sergeant First Class, then he was going to move to the Middle East.
Once there, he planned to join the Islamic State.
He also told a source that if he became a member of the organization, he would launch a suicide attack on Schofield Barracks, the base he was stationed at.
Prosecutors, furthermore, accused Kang of attempting to provide various material support to the enemy.
Among the support was a training video of fighting techniques, classified U.S. military documents, and even military gear, which included tactical equipment and ammunition.
He was also accused of trying to provide the terrorist organization with a commercially-available drone, equipped with a camera.
Thankfully, none of the support he attempted to provide ever reached the Islamic State. The people he was talking to, and who he attempted to hand over the materials to, were not members of an Islamic extremist organization operating out of the Middle East; they were agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The documents he provided to them, thinking they were terrorists, included classified air traffic control documents which included call signs, aircraft types, routes and points along said routes, and procedures. It even included radio frequencies used by ATC to communicate with aircraft, which could allow terrorists to track flights.
He also provided the ‘terrorist sympathizers’ with the military’s ‘weapons file,’ a document which describes the armament capability of U.S. forces, and describes the firearms that the forces commonly utilize.
Perhaps the worst thing he provided to people he believed to be at war with his fellow servicemembers, however, was sensitive materials containing PII, personally identifiable information, of members of the United States military.
According to the Justice Department, Kang was radicalized by, at latest, 2016, meaning he was yet another ‘radicalized servicemember’ that served (and radicalized) during the Barack Obama presidential tenure.
He regularly watched training and propaganda videos put out by foreign terrorist organizations, according to the DOJ.
He also made a number of comments and statements in support of the Islamic State, in particular.
The investigation into his conduct and his statements was conducted by the FBI, in conjunction with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID).
Thankfully, they managed to catch Kang before he could carry out his horrific plans. Such information in the hands of an enemy could have cost countless lives.
Whether at home or abroad, servicemembers must be wary, even on their own bases, of insidious Muslim extremists looking to harm them.