Coast Guard officer arrested on gun charges had hit list of prominent Democrats, feds say

By Stefan Becket

/ CBS News

A self-professed white nationalist who is also a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country" before being arrested in Maryland last week, federal prosecutors said.

Christopher Hasson, 49, faces federal charges of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance, according to court documents. But prosecutors wrote that those charges are "the proverbial tip of the iceberg."

"The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct," prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland wrote.

Federal agents executed a search warrant on Hasson's apartment in Silver Springs, Maryland, and found 15 firearms, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and at least 100 pills believed to be a heavy narcotic. He allegedly accumulated the stockpile of firearms over the course of two years, eventually amassing an arsenal worth thousands of dollars.

Investigators said they found a spreadsheet on Hasson's computer listing the names of several left-leaning television personalities and prominent Democratic members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

An arsenal of firearms found in the home of Christopher Hasson. U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland

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.

The Coast Guard confirmed Hasson was an active duty member stationed at the service's headquarters in Washington and said he was arrested as a result of an investigation led by the Coast Guard Investigation Services.

Beginning in early 2017, Hasson studied the manifesto of Anders Breivik, a far-right extremist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011, prosecutors said. 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."

In an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, FBI Special Agent Alexandria Thoman wrote that Hasson purchased the narcotic Tramadol from someone likely in Mexico, who shipped the drugs to an address in California before sending them to Hasson. Investigators found 100 pills believed to be Tramadol in Hasson's apartment, in addition to approximately 30 bottles labeled as human growth hormone.

Hasson is expected to make his first appearance in federal court on Thursday.

First published on February 20, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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