Feds: Right-wing military officer eyed Dems, journalists in planned attack
(CN) – A U.S. Coast Guard officer and self-proclaimed white nationalist was arrested after investigators discovered a cache of weapons in his Maryland home, as well as a hit list of journalists and Democratic politicians and activists, according to court documents.
Christopher Hasson, 49, was arrested Friday on firearms and drug charges, but in a court document filed this week, prosecutors alleged that the former Marine “intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.”
In a motion to keep Hasson detained pending trial, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland called the current charges the “tip of the iceberg,” citing Hasson’s extreme right-wing violent views.
“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” the court filing states.
Investigators found 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his home on Friday.
Hasson, who was stationed in Washington, D.C., made “thousands of visits” to “pro-Russian, neo-facist and neo-Nazi literature” from January 2017 to January 2019, according to the court document.
The court filing says Hasson subscribed to white supremacist views for years, including regularly reading a manifesto written by Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik who murdered 77 people in two separate terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011.
Prosecutors claim Hasson was following Breivik’s manifesto and targeted “political leaders, media leaders, cultural leaders, and industry leaders.”
They say Hasson has been stockpiling weapons and ammunition since 2017 as part of an unspecified attack to “establish a white homeland,” as well as keeping a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., among others.
In an email draft dated June 2, 2017, Hasson mentioned the idea of reaching out to a foreign government to assist him.
“I don’t think I can cause complete destruction on my own, However [sic] if I could enlist the unwitting help of another power/country would be best. Who and how to provoke???” he wrote, according to prosecutors. “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism.”
In a separate draft letter prosecutors say he wrote to an American Neo-Nazi leader seven months after the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi rally, Hasson said he thought protesting was not as effective as violence.
“I was and am a man of action you cannot change minds protesting like that. However you can make change with a little focused violence,” the court document states.
In that same letter, court papers say Hasson wrote, “I am a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military.”
Investigators were tipped off to Hasson by the Coast Guard after they flagged his internet searches of extremist sites on the job, according to an unnamed federal law enforcement official who spoke to NBC News.
Hasson has been stationed at U.S. Coast Guard headquarters since 2016. He is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing in federal court in Greenbelt on Thursday.