US Coast Guard officer in mass murder plot to remain jailed

Gilles Clarenne and Chris Lefkow
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Weapons seized at the Silver Spring, Maryland, home of US Coast Guard officer Christopher Paul Hasson, who espoused white supremacist views

Weapons seized at the Silver Spring, Maryland, home of US Coast Guard officer Christopher Paul Hasson, who espoused white supremacist views (AFP Photo/HO)

Greenbelt (United States) (AFP) - A US judge on Thursday ordered a Coast Guard officer who espoused white supremacist views and drafted a hit list of Democratic politicians and prominent media figures to remain behind bars.

Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, an admirer of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, was arrested last week on firearms and drug charges.

At a court hearing in Greenbelt, Maryland, judge Charles Day granted a request by prosecutors to keep Hasson in jail but said he may reconsider in 14 days if more serious charges are not filed against him.

Hasson was arrested on Friday and a powerful cache of weapons was seized from his home in a Washington suburb, according to court documents.

US District Attorney Robert Hur told reporters after the hearing that Hasson represented a "very significant threat to the safety of our community" given the arsenal and the "disturbing nature of his writings."

Hur, in a written motion seeking that Hasson be detained until trial, said the Coast Guard lieutenant planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."

"The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct," Hur said.

In a draft email obtained by prosecutors, Hasson wrote that he was "dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth" and pondered how he could obtain biological weapons.

Fifteen guns and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition were recovered from Hasson's basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland, along with steroids and human growth hormone.

Prosecutors said Hasson identified himself as a "White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for 'focused violence' in order to establish a white homeland."

- Internet searches for Democratic politicians -

Hasson routinely perused portions of the "Breivik manifesto" on amassing firearms and how to compile a list of targets, prosecutors said.

A spreadsheet of potential targets compiled by Hasson included Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats in the House and Senate.

Media personalities on the list included CNN's Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo and MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough.

Prosecutors said Hasson's internet searches included such queries as "most liberal senators," "where do most senators live in DC" and "are supreme court justices protected."

He also performed internet searches for "what if trump illegally impeached" and "civil war if trump impeached."

Hasson, prosecutors said, routinely perused "pro-Russian, neo-fascist and neo-Nazi literature."

Hasson has been working at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington since 2016 as an acquisitions officer, according to prosecutors.

He served in the US Marine Corps from 1988-1993 and also spent two years in the US Army National Guard.

Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people, most of them teenagers who were attending a youth camp.