This image of the U. S. District Court in Maryland shows a photo of firearms and ammunition that was in the motion for detention pending trial in the case against Christopher Paul hasson. Prosecutors say hasson, a Coast Guard lieutenant is a “domestic terrorists” who wrote about biological attacks and had a hit list that included prominent Democrats and media figures. He is by the court on Feb. 21 in Maryland. Prosecutors say hasson espoused extremist views for years. Court papers say hasson discusses an ‘interesting idea’ in 2017, a draft of the e-mail that included “biological attacks, followed by an attack on the food supply.” (U. S. District Court via AP)
GREENBELT, Md. – A coast guard officer suspected of drawing up a hit in the top-end and network TV journalists hours on his computer at work research into the words and deeds of the notorious bombers and mass shooters, while also the storage of weapons, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Lt. Christopher Paul hasson, 49, was ordered held without bail on drug and gun charges while prosecutors collect evidence to support more serious allegations with what they portrayed as a domestic terror plot by a man who espoused white-supremacist views.
Hasson, a former Marine who worked at the coast guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new blades for the agency, was arrested last week. The researchers gave no direct information about how or when he came to their attention.
Federal agents found 15 guns, including a number of guns, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In the court paper this week, federal prosecutors said he compiled what appeared to be a computer spreadsheet hit list included that the House of representatives Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Also mentioned were such figures as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.
In the argument against bail Thursday, federal prosecutor Jennifer Sykes said hasson would log on to his government computer during the work and spend hours searching for information on such people as the Unabomber, the Virginia Tech shooter, and anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph.
Sykes said the costs so far are only the “tip of the iceberg” and called hasson “a domestic terrorist” who turned out to be planning attacks inspired by the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist, which 77 people were killed in 2011, a bomb-and-shooting rampage.
Public defender Julie Stelzig prosecutors accused of making inflammatory allegations against her client, without the evidence to back them up. “It is no crime to think negative thoughts about people,” she said.
She has also questioned whether the government is trying to make an example out of hasson, given the criticism that the government overlooked domestic terrorists.
“Maybe they can now say: ‘Look, we are not targeting only the Muslims,” she said.
Stelzig said hasson doesn’t have a criminal record and has served 28 years in the Coast Guard. They described him as a “dedicated officer” and a loving husband and father.
Hasson spent about $ 14,000 on weapons, survival gear and other equipment, Sykes said. However, hasson, the public defender argued that the number of firearms found in hasson the apartment is “modest at best” for many gun collectors in other parts of the country.
“There is nothing what I see, here, that would show that he was the storage of weapons,” Stelzig said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles agreed to keep hasson behind bars, but said that he is prepared to revisit its decision of 14 days if prosecutors have not yet led to more serious accusations.
Hasson was previously an airplane mechanic in the Navy, serving from 1988 to 1994.
Court papers detail 2017 a draft of an e-mail in which he wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth.”
Also hasson, he sent a letter in 2017, that he had written for a neo-Nazi leader, and “identified himself as a White Nationalist for more than 30 years and advocate for “targeted violence” to be a white homeland,” prosecutors said.
Stelzig has been identified that neo-Nazi leader as a white separatist Harold Covington. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Covington died in July last year.
Last February, hasson searched the internet for the “most liberal senators” and asked, “senators have ss (Secret Service) protection” and “supreme court justices protected”, according to the court filing.
Bob Davis, who rents a house of hasson in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina, and met him a few times said he was “absolutely appalled” by the allegations.
“He was a very strict military guy. That is how I saw him. I really have nothing, but respected him. There are people in life that are not 100 percenters. He was a 100 percenter,” Davis said, meaning hasson worked hard and not slack off. “He is pictured in a very professional way. He was honorable. … He was a good man.”
Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Ben Finley in Currituck County, North Carolina, contributed to this report.