A U.S. Coast Guard officer is a self-proclaimed white supremacist who drafted a hit list of prominent Democrats and media personalities, part of a plot to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing this week.
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested Feb. 15 on firearm and opioid possession charges, but a filing Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland warns that those alleged violations “are the proverbial tip of the iceberg.”
“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life,” prosecutors wrote.
Hasson, an acquisitions officer for the service’s National Security Cutter program, previously served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard from 1988 to 1993, according a filing that seeks to keep him behind bars until his criminal trial concludes.
A resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, Hasson, 49, has been in custody since his arrest last week and a detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Coast Guard officials declined to comment on Hasson’s duties or current status Wednesday, citing the ongoing federal investigation.
In an email to Navy Times, Coast Guard spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Barry Lane said that Hasson was the target of an ongoing probe by the Coast Guard Investigative Service.
An earlier filing in Hasson’s case indicates that he filled out an SF-86 form in 2016, when he began working at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. That’s a questionnaire required for everyone who seeks national security clearance but the court documents don’t state which level of clearance he held.
A federal magistrate assigned a public defender to Hasson’s case on Feb. 15. Calls to the office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland were not returned by deadline Wednesday.
Hasson conducted online searches for pro-Russian, neo-fascist and neo-Nazi literature between 2017 and 2019, and took inspiration from the manifesto of Anders Breivik, a far right-wing domestic terrorist who killed 77 people — mostly children — in two coordinated attacks in Norway in 2011, according to the filing.
Breivik’s manifesto provides “a blueprint for future single cell or ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist operations,” the filing states.
Prosecutors, however, did not specify a date for when Hasson allegedly planned to kick off the massacre.
Consistent with Breivik’s manifesto, Hasson “began the process of targeting specific victims, including current and former elected officials” in January, according to the filing.
Hasson’s online activity since January 2017 showed him condutcing internet searches for phrases such as, “most liberal senators,” “where do most senators live in dc,” “do senators have ss [secret service] protection” and “are supreme court justices protected,” the filing states.
He also searched for MSNBC host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough “after viewing a headline claiming that Scarborough referred to the President as ‘the worst ever,’” according to the filing.
“After further searches, the defendant found Scarborough’s prior home, and then proceeded to scroll in and out on the location for approximately 35 seconds,” the filing states.
Prosecutors contend that on Jan. 17, Hasson also “compiled a list of prominent Democratic Congressional leaders, activists, political organizations, and MSNBC and CNN media personalities,” according to the filing.
Hasson’s hit allegedly included “gillibran” — prosecutors say it’s presumably U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — as well as “poca warren,” perhaps Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, plus “Sen blumen jew,” a slur for Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, among others, according to the filing.
Gillibrand and Warren are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Hasson allegedly "developed this list in the above spreadsheet while reviewing the MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News websites…from his work computer,” the filing states.
The same day he made the list, prosecutors say Hasson used the search engine Google for the following phases:
- “what if trump illegally impeached”
- “best place in dc to see congress people”
- “where in dc to (sic) congress live”
- “civil war if trump impeached.”
Hasson regularly perused the manifesto from early 2017 until his arrest this month, focusing on the sections offering advice on amassing guns, food, disguises and survival supplies, the filing states.
Law enforcement searched his “cramped basement apartment" in Maryland this month and found 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of mixed ammunition, according to the filing.
He bought guns, ammo, smoke grenades, magazines and other supplies from vendors across the United States, prosecutors allege in the court filing, and he’s “espoused extremist views for years.”
In a June 2017 draft email, he allegedly wrote about “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth,” the filing states: “Interesting idea the other day. Start with biological attacks followed by attack on food supply…Have to research this.”
Prosecutors allege that Hasson noted the need to enlist the “unwitting help of another power/country,” and wondered “Who and how to provoke??”
Hasson wrote that “liberalist/globalist ideology” was destroying “traditional peoples” and warned that “much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch,” prosecutors wrote.
According to the court filing, he added, “For some no amount of blood will be enough” because they "will die as will the traitors who actively work toward our demise. Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism.”
Hasson was initially charged with possession of the opioid Tramadol, and he allegedly spoke in his draft email of coming off the drug to “clear my head,” the filing states.
He cited the writings of Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph and pondered becoming a sheriff, city manager, mayor or other position that would get him leading a community, prosecutors allege.
Hasson also wrote of aping tactics from Ukraine’s civil war and attacking people on both sides of a partisan divide to stoke tension and escalate violence, according to the filing.
He also plotted attacks on food and fuel supplies and masquerading as a police officer to gun down looters and protesters, prosecutors say.
“I can’t just strike to wound I must find a way to deliver a blow that cannot be shaken off,” he wrote, according to the filing. “Maybe many blows that will cause the needed turmoil.”
In another letter allegedly drafted to a known American neo-Nazi leader a few months later, Hasson identified himself as a man who had been a white nationalist for more than three decades and advocated establishing a “white homeland” in the Pacific Northwest, according to the court filing.
“You can make change with a little focused violence. How long we can hold out there and prevent niggerization of the Northwest until whites wake up on their own or are forcibly made to make a decision whether to roll over and die or stand up remains to be seen," he allegedly wrote.
Breivik’s manifesto extolled the virtues of taking steroids to prep for attacks, and authorities allegedly found more than 30 bottles labeled as human growth hormone in Hasson’s apartment, prosecutors say.
Hasson had been buying the opioid Tramadol from an unidentified person online since at least 2016 and evidence emerged suggesting he was a chronic user of the drug, according to the filing.
Prosecutors wrote that Hasson also allegedly bought synthetic urine and clean kits “in the event he was randomly selected for a drug screening, which occasionally happened in his profession.”
The filing was first uncovered by Seamus Hughes, the Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.