A white supremacist Coast Guard lieutenant is accused of stockpiling weapons, compiling a hit list of Democratic senators and left-leaning journalists, and preparing for a massacre.
Prosecutors in Maryland called Christopher Paul Hasson a “domestic terrorist” in a Tuesday court filing, first reported by George Washington University’s Seamus Hughes, that argued for Hasson’s detention ahead of trial on firearms and controlled substance charges.
What law enforcement discovered during a Feb. 15 arrest and search led prosecutors to tell a federal court that Hasson “intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.” They included references to an anti-abortion bomber; a white supremacist Islamophobic mass murderer in Norway; his stated desire to “kill almost every last person on the earth” through biological weapons; and the discovery of 15 guns in his Silver Spring, Maryland basement.
Specific journalists and others appear in Hasson’s search history, the filing claims, including: MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes, Joe Scarborough, and Ari Melber; Sens. Richard Blumenthal—or “blumen jew,” in Hasson’s writing—Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker; Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Ilhan Omar; CNN’s Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, and Van Jones; as well as prominent Democrats Beto O’Rourke and John Podesta, and the Democratic Socialists of America.
Hasson’s searches also included “what if trump illegally impeached,” “civil war if trump impeached” and “best place in dc to see congress people.”
Hasson’s arrest is likely to spark additional questions to the military about the rigor with which it screens out people with white supremacist affiliations. While statistically infinitesimal, Hasson is the latest high-profile case to involve a Marine Corps veteran with white supremacist connections, such as Patriot Front’s Erik Sailors; American Vanguard’s Dillon Ulysses Hopper; neo-confederates Michael Chesny and Joseph Manning; and Atomwaffen’s Vasillios Pistolis. ProPublica and Frontline, which reported on Atomwaffen last year, identified three “members or associates” of the violent white supremacist group “who are currently employed by the Army or Navy,” as well as another three affiliated military veterans.
The filing called the middle-aged Hasson an acquisitions officer in the Coast Guard’s national headquarters, a stint following service in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1993 and then the Army National Guard. Deleted emails recovered by law enforcement showed Hasson quoting lines from Eric Rudolph, the anti-abortion murderer who bombed a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, and other targets.
“Liberalist/globalist ideology is destroying traditional peoples esp white. No way to counteract without violence. It should push for more crack down bringing more people to our side. Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch,” the filing quoted Hasson writing.
Hasson mused about “unwitting” sponsorship from “another power/country,” though the filing shows no evidence that the Coast Guardsman made any effort at contact. “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes, or any land that despises the west’s liberalism. Excluding of course the muslim scum,” he wrote.
Inspired by “tactics used during Ukrainian civil war,” Hasson wrote about exacerbating tensions with authorities during protests, particularly those by Black Lives Matter. “When (people) start to loot steal protest dress as cop and shoot them. Burn down Apt complex, bar the doors first. Thermite on gas station tank,” Hasson wrote. He signed his message, to unspecified “friends,” with his rank and Coast Guard affiliation.
Shortly after the Charlottesville white supremacist riot in August 2017, Hasson allegedly wrote to “a known American neo-Nazi leader” whom the filing did not identify. In a long email, Hasson declared himself a former skinhead who sees the need for a “white homeland” in the Pacific northwest.
“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. However you can make change with a little focused violence.”
Hasson, prosecutors say, had a focus for his intended violence, inspired by Norwegian child-murderer Anders Breivik’s manifesto on targeting “individual cultural Marxist/multiculturalist traitors.” (“Cultural Marxism” is an amorphous term of derogation on the far right, referencing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.) His search history showed terms suggesting his targets: “most liberal senators,” “where do senators live in dc,” “do senators have [secret service] protection,” “are supreme court justices protected.”
To fuel violence, Breivik urged followers to take drugs, including narcotics and steroids, for the dubious result of “turn[ing] you into a superhuman one-man-army for 2 hours!” Law enforcement found “over 30 bottles labeled as HGH,” human growth hormone, and records indicating purchases of at least 4,200 100mg-pills of the opioid Tramadol, acquired from Tijuana. He also bought synthetic urine, presumably to pass military-required drug tests.
The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
—additional reporting by Will Sommer