Dec. 4 (UPI) — A U.S. Army first class sergeant was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison for attempting to aid the Islamic State, including plans to attack his own base, the Justice Department said.
Ikaika Erik Kang, 35, was stationed at the Schofield Barracks near Honolulu but told a confidential source that he planned for a military transfer to the Middle East so he could join the Islamic State.
Kang accepted a plea agreement in August to serve 25 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release, according to a DOJ release.
Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway said that Kang’s conduct was “extremely serious” and “had the potential to be disastrous.”
And she also noted undercover agents gave Kang “a number of chances to return the classified information and leave the training, but [he] didn’t do that.”
“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,” Assistant Attorney General Demers said. “He is being held accountable for his betrayal and his crimes.”
“Defending our country from terrorism is a core mission of the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price.
Kang became sympathetic to the Islamic State by at least early 2016, according to court documents and information presented in court.
He watched propaganda videos online for as long as four to five hours a day or more.
Kang had plans to attack large public gatherings, such as the Honolulu Christmas Parade and a parade at Schofield Barracks, according to prosecutors.
He owned an AR-15-style assault rifle and a pistol.
During meetings with undercover FBI agents, Kang provided them with sensitive, non-public military documents, some of which were classified, that he intended to provide to the terrorist organization. In addition, he gave them a commercially purchased small aerial drone, a military chest rig, and other military-style clothing and gear.
Then, thinking he was meeting with a high-ranking leader, or “sheikh,” and another who played the role of a fighter, he led the FBI agents on two-hour, step-by-step military combatives training session.
On July 8, 2017, Kang swore an oath of loyalty, known as “bayat,” to Islamic Stater and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a ceremony conducted by the purported sheikh. After the ceremony, Kang said that he wanted to get his rifle from his home and go to downtown Honolulu and Waikiki strip and start shooting. Kang was arrested and taken into custody.