12:15 GMT03 August 2020
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    A US soldier photographed kissing a Daesh flag may have been manipulated by law enforcement officers in a sting operation, the defendant’s attorney argued on Thursday.

    Ikaika Erik Kang was arrested in Hawaii on July 8 and jailed without bond for participating in a scheme to provide Daesh with classified information that would aid its combat operations, the FBI announced on July 10. The 34-year-old US Army sergeant had been under surveillance by Army and FBI investigators for at least a year for expressing extremist views.

    "FBI assets and army investigative resources were continuously deployed to ensure the public’s safety during the course of this investigation and Kang’s eventual arrest," FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Delacourt said in a media release. 

    Kang is formally charged with attempting to provide training to Daesh militants in addition to attempting to send military documents.

    Kang has a spotted history in the armed services. He has been disciplined on several occasions for threatening fellow troops. A judge has ordered Kang not be released on bail because he poses a flight risk and danger to the public. The defense made no attempt to dispute the judge’s move to keep Kang detained.

    Kang has said Adolf Hitler was "right" to mass murder Jews and quipped following a deadly shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida that "the shooter did what he had to do," the Korea Times reported.

    US Soldier with Daesh flag was arrested on July 8.
    US Soldier with Daesh Flag

    The soldier’s lawyer has suggested his client is a victim of entrapment. “It looks to me like they’ve exploited his mental illness and thrown gasoline on the fire of his mental illness to get him to commit a crime that they could arrest him for,” defense attorney Birney Bervar told reporters following a Thursday hearing in Honolulu. 

    Kang will undergo a “full” psychiatric evaluation, his lawyer said, adding that he may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq that Bervar argues was never addressed nor treated by the service. 

    During the hearing, the FBI accused Kang of pledging allegiance to now-deceased Daesh chief Abu Bakr Baghdadi, buying an unmanned aerial vehicle for the terrorist group and making videos for the militants, US News & World Report wrote on Friday.

    Pictures of Kang holding up a Daesh flag were submitted to the court, in addition to photos of Kang kissing the Daesh flag and another one of the soldier holding a folded flag up to his forehead.

    “Kang gave classified military documents to people he believed would give them to ISIS,” Special Agent Delacourt told the Korea Times, “but none of them got to the organization."


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