Coast Guard Officer Accused of Plotting to Kill Top Democrats
(Bloomberg) -- A Coast Guard lieutenant living in a Washington suburb stockpiled weapons and plotted to kill prominent Democratic politicians, including several presidential candidates, as well as television news personalities, federal prosecutors said.
Christopher Paul Hasson, who worked at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, was arrested on firearms and narcotics charges last Friday. But those counts, prosecutors wrote in a motion arguing that he be kept in detention, “are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life.”
Prosecutors said he had “compiled a list of prominent Democratic congressional leaders, activists, political organizations, and MSNBC and CNN media personalities.”
Those included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia; Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Kamala Harris of California; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Also on the list were Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman and MSNBC host; and Chris Hayes, who also has a program on the network; and Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon and Van Jones of CNN.
In a raid on Hasson’s “cramped basement apartment” in Silver Spring, Maryland, according to the court papers, agents discovered an array of pistols and long guns, including semi-automatic weapons, and ammunition. His arrest was first reported by Seamus Hughes of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.
The detention motion, submitted on Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Robert Hur in Maryland, alleged Hasson, who also served in the U.S. Marines and the Army Reserve, identified himself in a letter as a “white nationalist for over 30 years” who sought to help establish a white homeland through “focused violence.”
The prosecutors said Hasson had “espoused extremist views for years,” and had “routinely perused” the writings of Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
After looking at a headline in which Scarborough was critical of President Donald Trump, Hasson, according to the court papers,“spent the next approximately five minutes reviewing Scarborough’s Wikipedia page and personal website before performing a Google search for ‘where is morning joe filmed.’ After further searches, the defendant found Scarborough’s prior home.”
Hasson bought the opioid Tramadol from Mexico and a case containing bottles labeled HGH, a human growth hormone, was found in his home, the prosecutors said. After his research into Breivik, according to the motion, Hasson “stockpiled the resources necessary to begin the process of taking narcotics in order to increase his ability to conduct attacks.”
Maria McElwain, a Blumenthal spokeswoman, said the senator was “grateful to the FBI and federal prosecutors for their work on this case and their ongoing efforts to combat violent and hateful extremism.”
A Pelosi spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday night.
Barry Lane, a Coast Guard spokesman, said that he “hadn’t any information to pass along.”
A hearing for Hasson has been scheduled for Thursday afternoon, according to the motion.
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