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Coast Guard officer wanted to kill Democrats, TV hosts, say prosecutors

Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested Feb. 15 on drug and gun charges. Prosecutors say he wanted "to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen."
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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.

Christopher Paul Hasson
Christopher Paul Hasson

"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.

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."

They say he searched the web for MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, and "compiled a list of prominent Democratic Congressional leaders, activists, political organizations, and MSNBC and CNN media personalities."

Prosecutors say the list included designations they believe referred to Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and House Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Ilhan Omar and Sheila Jackson. Also on it was former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

When agents searched the defendant's residence, they say they found a locked container that held 30 bottles labeled as HGH, human growth hormone.
When agents searched the defendant's residence, they say they found a locked container that held 30 bottles labeled as HGH, human growth hormone.U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland

Media figures on the list included Scarborough, MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Ari Melber, and CNN's Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.

On the same day he compiled the list of prominent people, Jan. 17, the defendant performed the following Google searches at the following approximate times, court papers say:

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"

"The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct," the detention memo says.