Coast Guard officer accused of making hit list of Democrats
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and MICHAEL BALSAMO
GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - A Coast Guard officer who espoused white supremacist views, dreamed of mass murder and stockpiled weapons in his basement apartment drew up what appeared to be a computer-spreadsheet hit list of Democratic politicians and TV journalists, federal authorities say.
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, who worked at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new cutters for the agency, faced a federal court hearing Thursday on gun and drug charges. But in court papers, prosecutors outlined far more serious allegations.
"The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct," they wrote.
Hasson, 49, was arrested last week. Investigators gave no immediate details on how or when he came to their attention.
Federal agents found 15 guns, including several rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition inside his apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Prosecutors wrote that Hasson had begun the "process of targeting specific victims." Last February, he searched the internet for the "most liberal senators" and also asked, "Do senators have ss (Secret Service) protection" and "Are supreme court justices protected," according to the court filing.
Hasson's 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, authorities.
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.
The federal public defender's office, which is representing Hasson, had no comment on the allegations, and no one answered the door Wednesday at the home address for Hasson listed in public records.
Court papers detail a June 2017 draft email in which he wrote that he was "dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth" and pondering how to acquire anthrax and toxins to create botulism or a deadly influenza.
In the same email, he discussed "biological attacks followed by attack on food supply" as well as a bombing and sniper attacks.
Also, Hasson sent himself a draft letter in 2017 that he had written to a neo-Nazi leader and "identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for 'focused violence' in order to establish a white homeland," prosecutors wrote.
Hasson routinely read portions of a manifesto written by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage, authorities said.
In their search, federal agents found a container with more than 30 bottles labeled human growth hormone, court papers said. Hasson appeared to be a chronic user of the opioid painkiller Tramadol, authorities said.
Bob Davis, who rents a house Hasson owns in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina, and met him a few times, said he was "absolutely shocked" by the allegations.
"He was a very stern military guy. That's how I saw him. I truly nothing but respected him. There are people in life who are not 100 percenters. He was a 100 percenter," Davis said, meaning Hasson worked hard and didn't slack off. "He portrayed in a very professional manner. He was honorable. ... He was a good man."
Associated Press writer Ben Finley in Currituck County, North Carolina, contributed to this report.
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