Arrest of US Army soldier serves as reminder that you can never be to sure of those around you.
A Hawaii-based soldier was arrested by an FBI SWAT team after he allegedly attempted to give both classified and unclassified military documents and a drone to undercover agents who he believed would pass these things along to ISIS. Ikaika Kang is a 34-year-old Sergeant First Class stationed in Hawaii and has been serving since 2001. This is a soldier who has not only been serving for years, but is a senior leader. Kang supposedly also swore an oath of loyalty to ISIS and told an undercover agent that he wanted to kill people with his rifle. Luckily, he didn’t get the opportunity to carry out the threat.
The US Army reported Kang to the FBI on suspicion that he was becoming radicalized, following a series of questionable statements that included threatening the lives of other soldiers and arguing pro-ISIS views at work and in the military environment. Following those complaints, his security clearance was suspended but reinstated the following year. Kang—a native of Hawaii—had also made statements regarding the Orlando gay club shooting of 2016 and how the shooter “did what he had to do.” Kang was supposedly reprimanded repeatedly for his disturbing behavior that lead up to the suspension of his security clearance. Incredibly, not only was his clearance reinstated, he was allowed to continue serving on active duty.
This situation could have ended much worse. While the items he was attempting to get to ISIS were reportedly out of date and irrelevant, Kang’s actions could have been detrimental to national security. He failed to actually get any information to ISIS, but it still doesn’t make this any less disturbing. It’s scary to know that this seasoned leader was walking around with access to military installations while harboring desires to kill people with his weapon. This illustrates the need to constantly be on watch. Not even military installations are 100% safe for service members and their families. Safeguarding information and staying vigilant are key to navigating the world we live in. A world where terrorism can happen anywhere, even at home.
Among the disturbing rants given to undercover agents, perhaps the most worrisome was Kang saying that America is the only terrorist organization. This is a man who put on the uniform of an American soldier every day and was sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This isn’t a brand new recruit, this is a person who advanced in the ranks and accomplished what many don’t in their military careers.
Kang’s betrayal automatically strips him of any title or rank as far as I’m concerned. This piece of work needs to be locked up for good. His father, of course, made statements to the media attempting to highlight what he “thinks” is PTSD that Kang suffers from. Frankly, I’m tired of people using PTSD—a very serious condition—as a footnote to explain away violent behavior. Through the course of my studies, I have had the opportunity to gain some knowledge on both PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries in service members. I don’t recall ever reading that terrorism is a side effect of either.