A Coast Guard lieutenant who was arrested last week is a “domestic terrorist” who drafted an email discussing biological attacks and had what appeared to be a hit list that included prominent Democrats and media figures, prosecutors wrote in court papers.
Christoper Paul Hasson was arrested Friday for stockpiling weapons and allegedly planning a mass attack.
“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” prosecutors wrote about Hasson in court paperwork. He allegedly wanted "to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to those court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland on Tuesday.
Hasson, who works at the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Washington, has espoused extremist views for years, according to prosecutors. Court papers detail a June 2017 draft email in which Hasson allegedly wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth,” and pondering how he might be able to acquire anthrax and toxins to create botulism or a deadly influenza. In the same email, Hasson apparently described an “interesting idea” that included “biological attacks followed by attack on food supply” as well as a bombing and sniper attacks, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.
Throughout the email, addressed to "friends ... acquaintances more likely," he allegedly contemplates the most effective methods to "cause complete destruction" by unleashing a biological attack on the public, followed by contamination of food supplies.
Months later, on September 2017, Hasson allegedly sent himself another draft letter that he had written to a known neo-Nazi leader, who has not been identified.
"I am a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military,” he wrote, according to the court paperwork. “We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost."
Hasson allegedly routinely read portions of a manifesto written by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik that prosecutors said instructs would-be assailants, to collect firearms, food, disguises and survival tools, court papers said. Breivik, a right-wing extremist, is serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage.
Hasson also expressed admiration for Russia. “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism,” he reportedly wrote in the draft email. Prosecutors say during the past two years he had regularly searched online for pro-Russian as well as neo-Nazi literature.
Prosecutors allege that Hasson visited thousands of websites that sold guns and researched military tactical manuals on improvised munitions.
Federal agents found 15 firearms — including several rifles — and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition inside Hasson’s “cramped basement apartment” in Silver Spring, Maryland, according to the court papers. They also found a container with more than 30 bottles that were labeled as human growth hormone, court papers said.
Prosecutors also wrote that Hasson “began the process of targeting specific victims,” including several prominent Democrats in Congress and 2020 presidential candidates. In February 2018, he reportedly searched the internet for the “most liberal senators,” as well as searching “do senators have ss (secret service) protection” and “are supreme court justices protected,” according to the court filing.
Hasson’s alleged list of prominent Democrats included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. The list — created in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet — also included mentions of John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones, according to the court filing.
Hasson appeared to be a chronic user of the opioid painkiller Tramadol and had purchased a flask filled with four ounces of “synthetic urine” online, prosecutors said. Authorities suspect Hasson had purchased fake urine to use in case he was randomly selected for a drug test.
In one of his draft e-mails, he allegedly wrote a to-do list for the next four years which included his desire to “come off” the drug, according to the court paperwork.
He’s due in federal court in Maryland this week following his Friday arrest on gun and drug offenses.
The chief at the federal defender’s office in Maryland — which is representing Hasson — has declined to comment on the allegations. The Coast Guard released a statement regarding his arrest on Wednesday, which states, according to ABC News, “an active duty Coast Guard member, stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, was arrested last week on illegal weapons and drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation led by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, in cooperation with the FBI and Department of Justice. Because this is an open investigation, the Coast Guard has no further details at this time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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