U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant allegedly plotted mass terror attack targeting Democrats, journalists
A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist has been arrested after allegedly plotting a massive domestic terrorist attack targeting several Democratic politicians and prominent media personalities.
Christopher Paul Hasson stockpiled weapons and maintained a hit list of people he wanted to kill, according to court documents shared with Global News by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who first noted the case.
FBI agents found 15 firearms and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in Hasson’s basement apartment in Silver Spring, Md.
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Hasson’s alleged hit list appeared to name an array of high-profile Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 2020 presidential contenders Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
It also appeared to include CNN anchors Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo as well as MSNBC anchors Joe Scarborough and Ari Melber.
“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” read a motion for detention filed in the U.S. District Court in Maryland. “[He] is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.”
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Hasson, a procurement officer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., was initially arrested on weapons and drug charges last week. But authorities said those charges are the “proverbial tip of the iceberg,” and that Hasson was in fact laying the groundwork for violent attacks inspired by his extremist views.
In a June 2017 email found in his “drafts” folder, Hasson wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth” and pondered how he might be able to acquire anthrax or toxins to create botulism or influenza.
He also wrote:
“Interesting idea the other day. Start with biological attacks followed by attack on food supply… have to research this.”
Then, in a September 2017 letter sent to a known American neo-Nazi figure, Hasson identified himself as a “long-time white nationalist” and called for “focused violence” to “establish a white homeland,” court documents show.
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He said he had been a skinhead for over 30 years and was tired of far-right protests and demonstrations, writing, “I was and am a man of action.”
He is also said to have made thousands of visits to websites to consume “pro-Russian, neo-fascist and neo-Nazi literature.”
Hasson took particular interest in the 1,500-page manifesto of Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in a pair of attacks in 2011, court documents reveal.
In accordance with Breivik’s manifesto, Hasson began acquiring weapons, food, disguises and survival gear to prepare for his nationalist plot. He also spent time perusing U.S. military manuals on improvised munitions and tactical handbooks.
He even consumed various narcotics and steroids to boost his mental and physical ability to carry out attacks, as recommended by Breivik in his manifesto.
Hasson also looked to Breivik’s manifesto for guidance on which people to target, prosecutors said.
“Review of the defendant’s activity since January 2017 revealed targeting indicators consistent with Breivik’s instructions,” the court filing states.
Breivik categorized potential targets as A, B or C depending on their degree of influence.
“This classification system is used to identify various individual cultural Marxist/multiculturalist traitors,” Breivik wrote in page 930 of his manifesto. “The intention of the system is to easier identify priority targets and will also serve as the foundation for the future ‘Nuremberg trials’ once the European cultural conservatives reassert political and military control of any given country.”
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Hasson compiled his hit list while reading news website including CNN, MSNBC and Fox News on his work computer, court documents state.
In addition to amassing weapons and putting together a hit list, Hasson also took to Google in an apparent attempt to get information on the likely whereabouts and security arrangements of his potential targets, prosecutors say.
His Google searches included “most liberal senators,” “best place in dc to see congress people,” “are supreme court justices protected” and “where is morning joe filmed.”
The last search refers to the MSNBC show Morning Joe and was allegedly made after Hasson saw a headline which claimed that the show’s host, Joe Scarborough, had referred to President Donald Trump as “the worst ever.”
Hasson was assigned to U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. as an acquisitions officer in June 2016, the court filings state.
He previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1988 to 1993 and in the Army National Guard for a couple of years in the mid-90s.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.
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