Soldier Arrested for Supporting ISIS, Attorney Blames U.S. Government
There was shocking news this weekend out of Hawaii, where a U.S. Army Soldier has been arrested by the FBI for reportedly trying to provide support and training to the Islamic State. The arrest, which culminated after a long investigation into the activities of Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, took place Saturday after the accused soldier told an undercover agent that he wanted to kill “a bunch of people.”
“A probable cause arrest was made in the interest of public safety,” said FBI Special Agent Paul D. Delacourt. “We believe that Kang was a lone actor and was not associated with others who present a threat to Hawaii.”
Kang is an active duty member of the armed forces, currently assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. He is accused of attempting to “provide material support to ISIS by providing both classified military documents, and other sensitive but unclassified military documents, to persons he believed would pass the documents to ISIS.” The FBI says that none of the classified materials actually found their way into enemy hands.
According to Birney Bervar, Kang’s defense attorney, the U.S. government is at least partially to blame for his client’s descent into treason.
“It would appear that Sgt. Kang, a decorated veteran of two deployments to the Middle East, may suffer from service-related mental health issues, which the government was aware of but neglected to treat,” said Bervar.
While there can hardly be an excuse for Kang’s behavior, his lawyer may have a point in that this is something that should have been referred to authorities a long time ago. In the feature story in Hawaiian News Now, it was revealed that Kang was the subject of several disciplinary actions from the Army, taken as a result of his pro-ISIS statements and his inability to get along with his fellow troops. On one occasion, he actually had his security clearance revoked, but it was reinstated a year later. This was an obvious mistake, considering that the FBI ultimately found hundreds of classified documents on his personal computer – documents Kang was happy to hand over to the undercover agent posing as a representative for ISIS.
Furthermore, the paper spoke to a man who served with Kang who said the news did not come as a complete shock:
Chris Sanders, who was deployed with Kang in Iraq from 2010 to 2011, said he recalls the soldier having frequent outbursts. At one point, Sanders said, Kang threatened his platoon sergeant.
“It’s almost like he had no filter. he would just say — literally — whatever was on his mind and it’s like he couldn’t recognize that it made other people feel uncomfortable,” Sanders said.
“When we got near the end of our deployment, me and a couple of my buddies who were over there, we were actually all talking and were like man, this guy is gonna be on the news one day.”
The lessons here are many, the first of which is that we cannot let our guard down when it comes to Islamic terrorists and their ability to radicalize Americans in all walks of life – even within the very military we depend on to defend our nation against them.