A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a massive domestic terror attack targeting politicians and journalists.
Christopher Paul Hasson called for “focused violence” to “establish a white homeland” and dreamed of ways to “kill almost every last person on earth,” according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”
“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” the government said in court documents filed this week, arguing that Hasson should stay in jail awaiting trial.
Hasson, 49, of Silver Spring, is expected to appear before a judge for a detention hearing in federal court in Greenbelt at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Hasson was arrested on illegal weapons and drug charges on Friday, but the government says those charges are the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.” Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland outlined Hasson’s alleged plans to spark chaos and destruction in court documents, describing a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views.
“Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads,” Hasson wrote in a letter that prosecutors say was found in his email drafts. “Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world.”
A magistrate judge ordered the Office of the Federal Public Defender to represent Hasson and that office declined comment Wednesday.
Hasson has been working at the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington since 2016, according to court documents filed by prosecutors. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps between 1988 to 1993 and in the Army National Guard for about two years in the mid-90s, the filings state.
Agents with the FBI field office in Baltimore and the Coast Guard Investigative Service arrested Hasson on Friday, FBI Baltimore spokesman Dave Fitz confirmed.
A Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, said Wednesday that Hasson no longer works at Coast Guard headquarters.
“An active duty Coast Guard member stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was arrested last week on illegal weapons and drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation led by Coast Guard Investigation Services, in cooperation with the FBI and the Dept. of Justice,” McBride said in a written statement. McBride declined to comment futher citing the open investigation.
Authorities seized 15 firearms, including several long guns and rifles, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from his cramped basement apartment after executing a search warrant this month. Over the last two years, he had made nearly two dozen purchases of firearms or related equipment and made thousands of visits to websites selling weapons or tactical gear.
“The defendant is a domestic terrorist,” the government said in court filings, “bent, on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.”
In an email he drafted in June 2017, he contemplated biological attacks and targeting food supplies. He considered the merits of a “bombing/sniper campaign.” And included a “Things to do” list that included purchasing land “out west or possibly NC mtns” for family and researching tactics used during the civil war in Ukraine.
“During unrest target both sides to increase tension,” Hasson wrote in the email, according to the court filings. “In other words provoke gov/police to over react which should help to escalate violence. BLM protests or other left crap would be ideal to incite to violence.”
In another letter drafted months later to an American neo-Nazi leader, Hasson called for a “white homeland.” He sent the letter to himself nearly two months after the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., where torch carrying white-supremacists clashed with anti-racist protesters.
“I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms marching around provoking people with swastikas etc.,” Hasson said. “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.”
Hasson’s commitment to destruction appeared heightened in recent weeks, according to details from prosecutors. He created a list of “traitors” and targets on Jan. 19 in an Excel spreadsheet on his work computer. The spreadsheet was created two days after he conducted a series of internet inquiries:
8:54 a.m.: “what if trump illegally impeached”
8:57 a.m.: “best place in dc to see congress people”
8:58 a.m.: “where in dc to congress live”
10:39 a.m.: “civil war if trump impeached”
11:26 a.m.: “social democrats usa” crap would be ideal to incite to violence.”…
This really may not have been the best day for the president to be calling media outlets enemies of the people. After all, there are some people out there who still take him seriously.
No matter how many times Trump is asked to dial it down for fear of lighting up the homicidal crazies, even though we’ve been down this road before, he keeps pumping the “enemy of the people” point. Should be an extra zesty edition of Scarborough’s show tomorrow.
Of course all this is taking place while conservatives are going apoplectic about Jussie Smollet, the actor from the TV show “Empire” who apparently staged a racist attack on himself in order to raise his profile (he faces a felony charge for allegedly filing a false police report). He was a bad guy, but…. you know… perspective.
This story should, at the very very least, get the same national news coverage as a dude who staged a fake hate crime. https://t.co/hFsozBNOqV— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) February 21, 2019
Here is a spreadsheet of Hasson’s hit list:
Remarkably, the WaPo reporter who got this story happened to learn of it from reviewing court files. Otherwise, we might not have known about it. There was no announcement from the DOJ, which surely would not have been the case if it was, say, a foreign national.