BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A judge ordered a Coast Guard officer from Maryland to be held in jail in a terror plot investigation, but warned federal prosecutors he may reconsider his decision in two weeks.
Baltimore-based FBI agents arrested Lieutenant Christopher Hasson last week and said he had a cache of weapons inside his apartment in Silver Spring.
They also say he had a “hit list” targeting prominent Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
But Lieutenant Hasson was never charged with anything related to terrorism—just drug and weapons charges.
His public defender said, “We are not a country that criminalizes people for their darkest thoughts and web searches. It is not a crime to write about a doomsday scenario.”
She said Hasson denies the allegations.
Federal prosecutors reveal Hasson spent hours researching a terror attack while at work at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.
They say he planned to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country” using biological weapons.
They also captured his research on surveillance cameras in his workplace.
You can read the court documents here.
Prosecutors say Hasson is a self-professed White nationalist who was trying to further a plot to advance his views.
In January 2019, Hasson searched for phrases including “do senators have ss [secret service] protection,” “are supreme court justices protected” and “best place in dc to see congress people,” prosecutors said in a motion arguing for his pretrial detention.
Prosecutors said Hasson worked as an acquisitions officer, an assignment he began in 2016. The Department of Defense said Hasson was in the Marine Corps from 1988 until at least 1992, attaining the rank of corporal.
In early 2017, Hasson began studying the manifesto of Anders Breivik a far-right extremist who murdered more than 70 people in Norway in 2011, prosecutors said.
The 1,500-page document outlined Breivik’s extreme white nationalist ideology and served as a blueprint for planning similar attacks.
Prosecutors said Hasson consulted the manifesto regularly.
Investigators found a draft of an email from June 2017 in which Hasson wrote he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”
“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,” he wrote in a draft of another letter soon after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. The government has expertly infiltrated and destroyed from within most if not all Pro White organizations … We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost.”
Federal investigators also found a human growth hormone and other narcotics they believe Hasson was using to get his body ready for an attack.
United States Attorney Robert Hur called Hasson a “threat” and said he praised the work of federal law enforcement partners in making the arrest.
Hasson had no prior criminal record. Hur said he broke the trust placed in him as a government employee.