Update 3 p.m. ET: A federal magistrate ordered Christopher Paul Hasson held in custody for 14 days as the government considers additional charges against him, the Washington Post reports. His public defender classified Wednesday’s filing as a “histrionic mischaracterization of Mr. Hasson.” Original story below.
The shock begins with the opening line — “The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country” — and does not subside.
A detention memo filed in federal court Tuesday in the case of alleged “domestic terrorist” Christopher Paul Hasson paints a chilling portrait of man who describes himself as a “long time White Nationalist” and believes in sparking political change through “focused violence.” As alleged by prosecutors, Hasson was inspired by the manifesto of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and wrote that he wanted to use his own “hate to make a lasting impression on this world” — hopefully sparking “needed turmoil.”
Hasson also maintained a long list of what prosecutors interpret as potential targets, ranging from Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). According to prosecutors, Hasson’s notations included derogatory nicknames for prominent politicians on his list, including “Sen blumen jew” and “poca warren.” His Internet search history allegedly included queries like: “where do most senators live in dc” and whether senators have secret service protection.
Arrested on firearms and drugs charges on February 15th — Hasson is due in district court in Maryland on Thursday afternoon for a detention hearing. Prosecutors argue that public safety demands he remain under police supervision: “He must be detained pending trial.”
As described by prosecutors, Hasson is a Lieutenant in the Coast Guard who has worked out of the service’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. He previously served in the Marines and the Army National Guard. Until his arrest, Hasson lived in “a cramped basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland.” News reports say he is 49 years old.
The detention memo quotes a 2017 email draft, saved by Hasson, in which he fantasizes about causing a pandemic. As quoted by prosecutors, Hasson writes: “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…”
What is the source of Hasson’s anger? Later in the email quoted by prosecutors he writes: “Liberalist/globalist ideology is destroying traditional peoples esp white. No way to counteract without violence.” He appears to be advocating a race war: “Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch. For some no amount of blood will be enough. They will die as will the traitors who actively work toward our demise.”
In a separate email draft quoted in the detention memo, Hasson describes himself as “a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military.” In this letter, as quoted by prosecutors, Hasson uses a variant of the N-word to describe the increasing diversity of the American Northwest and declares: “We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost.”
According to prosecutors, Hasson drew inspiration from Breivik, the right-wing European terrorist whose 2011 killing spree left 77 Norwegians dead. Prosecutors say Hasson “routinely perused” a manifesto written by Breivik, which they characterize as “a blueprint for future single cell or ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist operations.”
In behavior prosecutors describe as “consistent with the Breivik manifesto,” Hasson stockpiled guns and bullets. A search of his residence allegedly turned up 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
In January of this year, Hasson also compiled a list of prominent liberals that prosecutors call “consistent with the types of people who Breivik identifies as ‘traitors’ and targets for an attack.” The this list includes notations and names that prosecutors believe correspond to:
MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, and Ari Melber
CNN personalities Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Van Jones
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Maxine Waters (D-CA) — as well as former member Beto O’Rourke of Texas
Also on the alleged target list: John Podesta, the former chair of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and DSA — or the Democratic Socialists of America.
Prosecutors describe Hasson as “a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.” For the moment they have only charged him with counts they characterize as “the proverbial tip of the iceberg” — including illicit possession of Tramadol, an opioid painkiller, and “possession of a firearm and ammunition by an unlawful user or addict of controlled substances.”
Prosecutors believe that drugs were also part of Hasson’s plan of attack. Breivik’s manifesto advises a weeks-long course of steroids be taken in advance of an attack to increase aggressiveness, with the goal of turning the perpetrator into a “superhuman one-man-army.” In the search of Hasson’s apartment, prosecutors say, agents discovered a locked container hiding “over thirty bottles labeled as HGH.”