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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

U.S. Soldier Sentenced 25 Years for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS

A 35-year-old U.S. Army sergeant who pleaded guilty in August to providing material support to ISIS was sentenced today to 25 years in prison and 20 subsequent years of supervised release. Earlier this summer, Ikaika Erik Kang, who was stationed at the U.S. Army’s Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, provided undercover officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation with sensitive non-public military documents classified at the SECRET level.

The case marks the first time anyone in Hawaii has been convicted for providing material support to terrorism, said Special Agent in Charge Sean L. Kaul of the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office.

“This should serve as reminder that even though we are 2,500 miles from the U.S. Mainland these crimes can and do happen everywhere,” Kaul said. “I would like to personally thank the United States Attorney’s Office, the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, the United States Army, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Honolulu Police Department, and the entire Joint Terrorism Task Force Community here in Hawaii for bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion. Today, our community is a safer place due to their tireless efforts.”   

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Kang, who served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, became an ISIS sympathizer in 2016 by watching ISIS propaganda videos online. He kept a pistol and AR-15 assault rifle in his Oahu home, and would later make statements about killing people in large groups, including at his barracks and at events like the Honolulu Christmas Parade.

In June and July, Kang met undercover FBI agents who said they were connected to the terrorist group. He gave the agents the secret documents as well as a “commercially-purchased small aerial drone, a military chest rig, and other military-style clothing and gear,” according to the Justice Department. One of the FBI agents posed as a high-ranking ISIS leader and another as a terrorist fighter, and Kang gave them a two-hour military hand-to-hand combat and marksmanship training session.

Kang was arrested after swearing allegiance to ISIS participating in an initiation ceremony on July 8, in which he kissed the ISIS flag and then expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting in downtown Honolulu and along the Waikiki strip.

“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 it material support,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers of the DOJ National Security Division. “With the sentence imposed today, he is being held accountable for his betrayal and his crimes. I want to thank all of the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”  

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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