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U.S. Army soldier charged with providing material support to ISIS
Even his lawyer doesn't know anything about the case, by his own admission, so it's impossible for us at this point to say who this guy is or why his loyalties have apparently shifted from Uncle Sam to Uncle Baghdadi, but one Ikaika Erik Kang - a 34-year-old air traffic controller stationed in Hawaii - is in a world of trouble:
An FBI affidavit filed in court with the criminal complaint summarized a lengthy sting operation employing several undercover agents and other "confidential human sources" who posed as Islamic State operatives and sympathizers.
As described in the affidavit, the sting drew to a climax as Kang swore a pledge of loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, then proceeded to make training videos for the extremist group, also known as ISIS, which has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.
He was taken into custody that same day, the affidavit said. Hours earlier, according to the FBI, he had purchased a GoPro drone aircraft and camera kit that he intended to be sent to the Middle East to help ISIS fighters evade enemy tanks in battle.
Kang also is accused of attempting to furnish ISIS with classified and other sensitive military records that would have assisted the group in its combat tactics. But the FBI said none of those documents made it to ISIS.
Kang, a member of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, was assigned to the Army's Schofield Barracks, a major garrison on the island of Oahu.
He is believed to be a "lone actor" with no ties to anyone who might pose a threat to Hawaii, the FBI said. He was brought to the FBI's attention by the Army last year, officials said.
One thing that's not clear, at least from this report, is whether ISIS has ever heard of Kang or whether the two parties have ever had any contact with each other. Kang was clearly trying to get information to them, but it would be much more disturbing if we learned that ISIS had actually managed to successfully make contract with a member of the U.S. Army and had persuaded him to work for them.
To be clear, we can't say for sure at this point that this didn't happen, but the charge against Kang right now sounds like it consists mainly of him trying to create materials and attempting unsuccessfully to forward it to them. Apparently he thought he was dealing with ISIS but he was actually dealing with people operating at the behest of the U.S. government.
There must have been some reason they had this sting operation going on. The story doesn't explicitly say that Kang is Muslim, but he must have said or done something that led his superiors to believe he presented a risk of turning coat. You generally don't engineer a sting operation against someone just on the random chance they might be rotten. You do it because they've given you some reason to believe they might be.
We'll learn more as the case unfolds, but props to the Army for sniffing this guy out and hopefully eliminating the threat of an inside job. Also, a sobering note: ISIS may be getting its clock cleaned in Mosul at the moment, but there's every reason to think they will keep seeking ways to hurt us and our allies. And apparently, against all conceivable reason, they have sympathizers within our own country willing to help them.
We can't afford to take our eye off this threat for one second, no matter how convinced we are that we've gained the upper hand.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!