Coast Guard officer wanted to kill Democrats, TV hosts, say prosecutors
WASHINGTON — A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant working in the nation's capital lived a secret life as a "domestic terrorist" who aspired to mass murder and compiled a target list of prominent politicians and journalists, federal prosecutors allege in court papers.
Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested Feb. 15 on drug and gun charges, but prosecutors said in a detention memo this week that he intended "to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
He has espoused extremist views for years, the court papers say, and he read the manifesto of Anders Breivik, the white supremacist Norwegian terrorist who shot and killed 77 people in 2011.
From January 2017 to January 2019, "the defendant conducted online searches and made thousands of visits for pro-Russian, neo-fascist, and neo-Nazi literature," the document says.
"I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth," reads a draft email found on his computer. "I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed/ Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something."
In another letter to himself found on his computer, court papers say, he says, "I am a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military."
The Coast Guard flagged him because of internet searches of extremist web sites at work, a federal law enforcement officer told NBC News.
"He wasn't too surprised to be arrested, but he was worried about law enforcement officers entering his home, the official said.
A search of his Silver Spring, Maryland, residence yielded 15 firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, the court documents say.
During the raid officials also discovered Hasson's computer, containing a spreadsheet that reportedly is a hit list of possible targets — high-ranking current and former Democratic politicians, activists, political organizations and media personalities.
In addition to Pelosi, Hasson was allegedly considering some type of violent assault on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Richard Blumenthal, along with U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters, and former house member, Beto O'Rourke. The spreadsheet list also included MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough, as well as Don Lemon and Van Jones from CNN.
He was abusing the narcotic tramadol, and he had stockpiled 30 bottles of human growth hormone, prosecutors said in court papers.
The combination of drugs and guns was a significant concern, the federal law enforcement official said.
Prosecutors allege Hasson was following Breivik's manifesto, seeking to target "political leaders, media leaders, cultural leaders, and industry leaders."