By Samuel Chamberlain
Published February 21, 2019
A Coast Guard lieutenant who authorities say espoused white nationalist views and compiled a hit list of Democratic lawmakers and prominent media personalities should be held without bail for at least two weeks while federal prosecutors continue to investigate his activities, a judge ruled Thursday.
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, was arrested Friday in the parking garage of the Coast Guard's Washington headquarters on drug and gun charges. Federal agents recovered 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Hasson's Maryland apartment.
Prosecutors alleged in court documents filed Wednesday that Hasson had compiled a spreadsheet of so-called "traitors" that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls including 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.
Investigators say Hasson repeatedly studied a manifesto authored by Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage. Prosecutor Jennifer Sykes claimed Thursday that Hasson would also log onto his government computer during work and spend hours searching for information on such people as the Unabomber, the Virginia Tech gunman and anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph. Hasson also allegedly Googled topics like "most liberal senators," "best place in dc to see congress people," and "civil war if trump impeached"
Prosecutors' motion for pre-trial detention included extracts from a 2017 draft email in which Hasson wrote that he was "dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth."
Also, Hasson sent himself a draft letter in 2017 that he had written to a neo-Nazi leader and "identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for 'focused violence' in order to establish a white homeland," prosecutors said. Hasson's public defender, Julie Stelzig, identified that neo-Nazi leader as white separatist Harold Covington, who died this past July.
Stelzig accused prosecutors of making inflammatory accusations against her client without providing the evidence to back them up. "It is not a crime to think negative thoughts about people," she said.
She also questioned whether the government is trying to make an example out of Hasson in response to criticism that authorities have overlooked domestic terrorists.
"Perhaps now they can say, 'Look, we're not targeting only Muslims,'" she said.
Stelzig said Hasson doesn't have a criminal record and has served 28 years in the Coast Guard. She described him as a "committed public servant" and a loving husband and father.
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride confirmed to Fox News that Hasson entered the service in March 1996. He was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer in 2012 and Lieutenant in 2015. He was assigned to the Coast Guard's Washington headquarters in June 2016. Hasson was previously an aircraft mechanic in the Marines, serving from 1988 to 1994. He also served in the
It is not clear how Hasson came to the attention of investigators, but McBride said the Coast Guard Investigative Service began looking into the lieutenant this past fall after "after the Coast Guard Insider Threat Program first identified concerns about him." He did not elaborate.
Adam Stolzberg, a Coast Guard contractor who had worked for the past six months with Hasson on a Coast Guard cutter project, told Fox News that he sat 50 paces from the lieutenant at Coast Guard headquarters and saw no sign of white supremacist or terrorist sympathies.
Stolzberg described Hasson as someone who was "a little more serious, didn't smile or joke." He added that Hasson kept a clean desk, rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to work and had tattoos and a shaved head.
Bob Davis, who rents a house from Hasson in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina, and met him a few times, said he was "absolutely shocked" by the allegations.
"He was a very stern military guy. That's how I saw him. I truly nothing but respected him. There are people in life who are not 100 percenters. He was a 100 percenter," Davis said, meaning Hasson worked hard and didn't slack off. "He portrayed in a very professional manner. He was honorable. ... He was a good man."
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.