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"White nationalist" in the Coast Guard was stockpiling guns to massacre Democrats and journalists, prosecutors say

Prosecutors have asked a judge to detain Lt. Christopher Hasson until he can face trial for illegal drug possession and possession of firearms.

by Tess Owen
Feb 20 2019, 11:59pm

A self-avowed "white nationalist" and lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard allegedly stockpiled guns and ammunition and had a lengthy “hit list” that included prominent Democrats, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, newly elected Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and reporters from CNN and MSNBC.

The details of Lt. Christopher Hasson’s alleged violent intentions appear in a motion filed by federal prosecutors Thursday. They’ve asked a judge to detain Hasson until he can face trial for illegal drug possession and possession of firearms under the influence of a controlled substance. A detention hearing is slated for Feb. 21.

“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” according to the motion, first reported by researchers at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. “He must be detained pending trial.”

Hasson, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps between 1988 and 1993, resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is currently stationed at the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. He’s assigned to the National Security Cutter Acquisition, the centerpiece of the Coast Guard’s fleet.

Guns and drugs

After reviewing Federal Firearms Licensing records, prosecutors learned that Hasson was sitting on a huge cache of firearms — 15 in total, including AR-15s, long rifles and handguns, plus over 1,000 rounds of ammunition and body armor, all stashed in the basement of his home. The supplies were purchased from vendors in California, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Prosecutors also allege that Hasson had ordered at least 4,200 pills of the narcotic Tramadol, likely from an individual in Mexico, since 2016. According to a trove of draft emails hidden in a subfolder of Hasson’s account, he appeared to idolize Anders Breivik, a convicted far-right terrorist who murdered 77 people in attacks near Oslo, Norway, in 2011. Breivik suggested in his “manifesto” that prospective assailants begin taking steroids six weeks before an attack.

Hasson now faces charges for possession of Tramadol, as well as possession of a firearm and ammunition by an addict of a controlled substance. But it's the Coast Guard member's "white nationalist" sympathies and elaborate right-wing terror plots that stoked widespread concern.

“The current charges, however, are the proverbial tip of the iceberg,” prosecutors wrote in the motion. “The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect government conduct.”

Hateful emails

The motion cites numerous other draft emails that revealed Hasson’s hateful beliefs and violent leanings. In one email dated June 2017, Hasson wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on Earth” and that liberal ideology was destroying white people’s traditions. “No way to counteract without violence,” Hasson wrote.

In another email — addressed to a “known American neo-Nazi leader,” according to the motion, and written approximately seven weeks after the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017— Hasson describes himself as a “longtime white nationalist, having been a skinhead 30-plus years ago before my time in the military.” He also wrote about the need for a “white homeland” and chastised the participants of Unite the Right, according to the motion.

“I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms, marching around, provoking people with swastikas, etc.,” Hasson wrote. “I was and am a man of action. You cannot change minds protesting like that.”

Between January 2017 and January 2019, federal prosecutors allege that Hasson visited websites containing neo-Nazi and neo-fascist literature thousands of times. Federal prosecutors said that Hasson regularly perused Breivik’s “manifesto” that tells would-be mass killers how to prepare for a massacre, like what firearms to stockpile and tactical gear to purchase.

Identifying targets

Hasson also followed Breivik’s advice for identifying targets — or who would be considered a “traitor,” according to the motion. Prosecutors allege that Hasson routinely performed searches of prominent Democratic lawmakers or media personalities’ homes and entered possible targets into a spreadsheet.

Many of the people on the hit list were the same individuals targeted by Cesar Sayoc, a MAGA-obsessed Florida resident who sent package bombs to the president’s biggest critics last October.

In addition to prominent Democrats named earlier, Hasson wanted to target 2020 Democratic hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren (written as “Poca Warren”), according to the motion. His “hit list” also named Beto O’Rourke and Maxine Waters. He also planned to target civil rights icon Angela Davis; “DSA”; CNN’s Don Lemon, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, and Ari Melber.

Prosecutors allege that Hasson also Googled phrases like “best place in D.C. to see Congress people,” “what if Trump illegally impeached,” “Civil War if Trump impeached” and “social democrats USA.”

If convicted on the gun and drug charges he’s currently facing, Hasson would face a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Cover image: United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland