Authorities Arrest Coast Guard Officer Plotting To Kill Journalists, Democrats

A Coast Guard officer and aspiring domestic terrorist was arrested late yesterday for plotting to kill Democratic politicians and members of the media.

Late yesterday, authorities announced the arrest of a Coast Guard officer who had stockpiled weapons and explosives in his suburban Maryland home and was plotting attacks on Democratic politicians and journalists:

A Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist who was arrested in Maryland last week was plotting to kill a long list of prominent journalists and Democratic politicians, as well as professors, judges and what he called “leftists in general,” federal prosecutors said in a court filing on Tuesday.

Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, was arrested Friday on gun and drug charges, but prosecutors said in the filing that the charges were just the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.”

The filing argued that Lieutenant Hasson should be held until he is tried, describing him as a “domestic terrorist” who intended “to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.”

Prosecutors quoted a letter that he drafted to friends in 2017 and that the authorities found on his computer. In it, Lieutenant Hasson, who works as an acquisitions officer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, wrote: “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. 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 the last month, prosecutors said, the lieutenant used his work computer to draw up a list of prominent figures he called “traitors” and wanted to kill, including many well-known anchors and hosts on the CNN and MSNBC news networks and a number of Democratic elected officials. The list included, among others, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters, Senator Richard Blumenthal, whom he referred to as “Sen blumen jew,” and many of the senators running for president in 2020.

He had recently performed internet searches seeking information about whether senators and Supreme Court justices receive Secret Service protection, the court filing said.

In the letter quoted by prosecutors, Lieutenant Hasson wrote about wanting to start a race war, and pondered the best way to do it. “Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch,” he wrote.

He mused about taking advantage of some already tense issue, like the standoff in 2016 between Oregon protesters and the Bureau of Land Management. “Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads. Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world,” he said in the letter.

Lieutenant Hasson served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1993, then approximately two years on active duty in the Army National Guard. He has held his current Coast Guard job since 2016, according to court documents.

A Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. Cdr. Scott McBride, confirmed on Wednesday that one of its service members stationed at headquarters in Washington had been arrested on weapons and drug charges, but declined to comment further on the case. “Because this is an open investigation, the Coast Guard has no further details at this time,” Commander McBride said.

Federal investigators said in the court filing that Lieutenant Hasson had begun stockpiling weapons in 2017. When federal agents searched his cramped basement apartment in Silver Spring, Md., they said, they found a cache of 15 assault rifles, shotguns and handguns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition that the lieutenant had amassed.

The Program on Extremism at George Washington University called attention to the court filing in Twitter posts on Wednesday. In the filing, the authorities cited writings found on the lieutenant’s computer that point to extreme racist and apocalyptic views.

Shortly after the violence incited by a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, the authorities say, Lieutenant Hasson drafted a letter to a well-known neo-Nazi expressing support for the idea of building a “white homeland” in the Pacific Northwest.

“I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms marching around provoking people with swastikas etc.,” he wrote. “I was and am a man of action, you cannot change minds protesting like that. However you can make change with a little focused violence.”

In a passage of the letter quoted in the court filing, Lieutenant Hasson wrote, “I am a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military.”

In many respects, of course, this case is similar to that of Ceasar Sayoc, who was arrested in October after a two-week period in which crude pipe bombs that were ultimately traced to him were sent to Democratic figures such as Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and others, as well as other Administration critics and members of the media such as former CIA Director John Brennan and others. Mere days after Sayoc was arrested, a man named Robert Bowers walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed eleven people and it was later discovered that he targeted Jewish Americans because of Jewish support for groups that help refugees and that a search of his home revealed a number far-right publications as well as obsession with the refugee “caravans” that President Trump made a prominent part of his push for Republcian candidates in the midterm elections. In those cases, of course, the consequences were far more serious, although the devices that Sayoc mailed out never exploded and may not have been properly assembled.In Hasson’s case, it appears that Coast Guard officials were made aware of concerning content on his work computer that led to the investigation by the F.B.I. that brought us to yesterday’s developments.

Like Sayoc, Hasson appears to have been radicalized by a combination of far-right politics and the Trumpidian atmosphere of the conservative media. Early reports indicate that Hasson was a strong supporter of the President’s, as well as the so-called alt-right that has become an increasingly public presence since the beginning of the Trump Presidency, most notably with the aforementioned “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. While Hasson is solely responsible for his actions, of course, it’s had not that hard to see how he could have been radicalized by the political rhetoric that plays such a large role in the United States today. All one need to do is turn to certain websites or listen to media such as Alex Jones to see and hear the worst of it, but even the material that comes from so-called “mainstream” sources like Fox News Channel.

Fortunately, Hasson was nowhere near being able to actually carry out his plans, but the fact that he was able to stockpile such a large cache of weapons in his small apartment is understandably concerning. It’s also unclear whether Hasson had any co-conspirators or if, like most of the domestic terrorists that have been caught in recent years, he was a lone wolf who was attempting to pull off his plans on his own. Presumably, investigators will look into this issue and that anyone who may have been involved with Hasson in this fortunately averted plot will be held responsible for their actions or failure to act.

Here’s the Criminal Complaint filed against Lt. Hasson:

United States v. Hasson by on Scribd

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Terrorism
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    How many more people like this are out there?

    ReplyReply
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Franklin:

    How many more people like this are out there?

    How many red hats are there?

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  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Franklin:
    Too many.

    For much of the right, this will be a non-story, someone who is crazy or a criminal not politically motivated.

    ReplyReply
  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    For much of the right, this will be a non-story, someone who is crazy or a criminal not politically motivated.

    This is exactly right. Just like the red hat wearing kid getting in the face of the Native American…he’s perfectly innocent, he’s not a white supremacist.
    Really…those red hats mean nothing. It doesn’t mean they are supporting racism or misogyny or hatred or fear-mongering or revolt against the Constitution. They are just red hats.

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  5. gVOR08 says:

    And it’s a far greater sin to say any of these people might be deplorable.

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  6. CSK says:

    Just checked over at Lucianne.com, a major hang-out for Trumpkins. Of 14 commenters, all but one are cheering this guy.

    Sample comments:
    “He wanted to kill journalists. What’s wrong with that.”
    “The commie liberals in the msm and government drove this man over the edge. I can relate.”
    “He’s just one of many with the same idea if D.C. doesn’t start doing what they were sent there to do.”

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  7. al Ameda says:

    Well this certainly begs some questions:
    (1) How did authorities miss this him when he crossed the Southern border into the United States? (2) Is Silver Springs a Sanctuary City?
    (3) Did he have M13 gang affiliations?

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @al Ameda:
    Brilliant.
    Thank you.

    ReplyReply
  9. gVOR08 says:

    @al Ameda: Atrios wants to know why DOJ said nothing about this for a week until a reporter came across it. Interesting question.

    ReplyReply
  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    How much you wanna bet this Coast Guard guy has a red hat?
    – The MAGA-bomber had Trump stickers all over his van.
    – The Waffle House shooter wanted a meeting with Trump
    – The Quebec Mosque shooter was a regular reader of Trumps Twitter feed
    – The Parkland Shooter sent a letter to Trump
    – The Santa Fe shooter followed only a few online accounts, including Trump, Melania, and Ivanka.
    Weird…almost like a coincidence….

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  11. Kathy says:

    I’m sorry it’s come to this. With much regret one must propose a solution that will work. It is clear trump’s supporters are a violent lot, able and willing to carry out mass murder attacks. We cannot simply stand idly by while they ravage our communities.

    Therefore, it is obvious we need to round them up and send them back to whatever shit hole countries they came from.

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08:
    https://newrepublic.com/article/152675/database-showed-far-right-terror-rise-trump-defunded-it
    Besides databases, they’ve cut funding for enforcement. Is Trump’s answer to RW terrorism to pretend it doesn’t exist? They’d better get good at pre-emption, the shootings and explosions will be hard to ignore. Of course they can always pretend it was jihadis or lefties. Those Reichstags won’t burn themselves.

    ReplyReply
  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:

    Therefore, it is obvious we need to round them up

    Yes, we need to shut down Republican men until we can figure out what is going on.

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  14. PJ says:

    While Hasson is solely responsible for his actions, of course, it’s had not that hard to see how he could have been radicalized by the political rhetoric that plays such a large role in the United States today.

    There’s a definition for that, stochastic terrorism.

    The use of mass public communication, usually against a particular individual or group, which incites or inspires acts of terrorism which are statistically probable but happen seemingly at random.

    ReplyReply
  15. Eric Florack says:

    Funny how this story came up just about the time that the Jesse Smollet hoax was falling apart.

    Meanwhile, this stuff gets ignored…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/charliekirk11/status/1098614755957198848

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  16. just nutha says:

    The lieutenant is 49 years old and appears to have made the government service a career choice. He wasn’t radicalized by anything. He seized an opportunity to let others excuse/justify his actions and ran with it. Stick a needle in his arm and get it over with!

    ReplyReply
  17. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    CSK says:
    Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 10:10
    Just checked over at Lucianne.com, a major hang-out for Trumpkins. Of 14 commenters, all but one are cheering this guy.

    Sample comments:
    “He wanted to kill journalists. What’s wrong with that.”
    “The commie liberals in the msm and government drove this man over the edge. I can relate.”
    “He’s just one of many with the same idea if D.C. doesn’t start doing what they were sent there to do.”

    I suppose we’re lucky that 99% of them are cowards.

    ReplyReply
  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: So you’re carrying water for White Supremacy now? Why am I not surprised?

    ReplyReply
  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Not very surprising that the people who fall hard for white nationalism are, by and large, losers when it comes to other aspects of their lives. Have you ever known of any “white nationalist” who wasn’t totally incompetent except maybe at shooting off a gun?

    For a lot of these guys, their inability to actually accomplish anything with their lives is somehow totally superseded by being able to claim that they have the same skin colour as someone like Albert Einstein. (They’d probably be against him for the fact that he was Jewish, however.)

    Feh. (One of the best theoretical physicists I know happens to be of a skin colour that makes President Obama look pasty pale, so I’ve got even more ammunition against these nitwits.)

    ReplyReply
  20. al Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Funny how this story came up just about the time that the Jesse Smollet hoax was falling apart.

    It is funny how you think that the Smollett Hoax (which was completely wrong) is somehow as egregious and serious as the arrest of a Coast Guard officer who was plotting to murder half the prominent opposition to Donald Trump.

    The White Nationalist / White Identity Movement is the biggest domestic threat to American citizens today.

    ReplyReply

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