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Maryland Coast Guard officer accused of plotting mass killing ‘on scale rarely seen’

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested last Friday on gun and drug charges allegedly wanted to conduct a mass killing.

Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, of Silver Spring, Maryland, is alleged to be a white supremacist who had a hit list that included prominent Democratic politicians as well as several journalists from CNN and MSNBC. Hasson’s case was first circulated by counterterrorism expert Seamus Hughes and the George Washington Program on Extremism.

Hasson’s hit list includes Democratic politicians — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kamala Harris of California, as well as former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas — as well as CNN journalists Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Ari Melber and Joe Scarborough.

Court documents say Hasson espoused extremist and white supremacist views and allege that he relied on the manifesto of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian who was convicted in 2011 of two terror attacks that killed 77 people.

The government says Hasson also stockpiled steroids and human growth hormone “to increase his ability to conduct attacks,” consistent with the directions in Breivik’s manifesto.

“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” prosecutors wrote.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Barry Lane, spokesman for US Coast Guard Headquarters, said in a statement that the arrest was part of an investigation led by the Coast Guard.

“An active duty Coast Guard member, stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, was arrested last week on illegal weapons and drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation led by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, in cooperation with the FBI and Department of Justice. Because this is an open investigation, the Coast Guard has no further details at this time,” Lane said.

Musing in a draft email acquired by prosecutors, Hasson allegedly wrote, “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”

In another draft email, apparently written to a known American neo-Nazi leader, Hasson allegedly wrote, “We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost.”

When law enforcement agents searched his house they found 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, according to the documents.

Hasson, who is assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, is a former Marine. He will appear Thursday in US District Court for the District of Maryland for a hearing.

In a statement, Blumenthal spokeswoman Maria McElwain said he was thankful for the FBI’s intervention.

“Senator Blumenthal is grateful to the FBI and federal prosecutors for their work on this case and their ongoing efforts to combat violent and hateful extremism,” McElwain said.

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