The former Coast Guard lieutenant and longtime white nationalist arrested last Friday had allegedly been planning not only a terrorist attack of massive proportions, but also targeted violence against several Democratic politicians and media personalities—New York Senator Chuck Schumer and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among them.
Journalists are sharing stories about where I live the same day it’s shared that myself + others were targeted by a mass shooter.
All this paired w/ amplifying unvetted conspiracy theories. It’s reckless, irresponsible & puts people directly in danger.
This isn’t a game. https://t.co/gcJWcKinxI
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2019
Federal investigators arrested 49-year-old Christopher Paul Hasson on Friday, on charges pertaining to illegal weapons and drug possession: According to the Washington Post, officers seized 15 firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition when they raided his home in Silver Springs, Maryland, along with narcotics and 30 vials of a substance they suspect to be human growth hormone.
All of this seemed to be in service of his larger goal, outlined in his personal writings: Inciting law enforcement and the government to an overreaction, "which should help to escalate violence." According to his emails, Hasson considered exploiting "BLM protests or other left crap," using "focused violence" to "kill almost every last person on the earth" and ultimately "establish a white homeland," according to prosecutors.
Hasson allegedly began stockpiling his weapons cache in 2017, perhaps earlier, and his troubling Google searches—"where in dc to [sic] congress live"; "best place in dc to see congress people"; "are supreme court justices protected"—suggest he had particular political targets in mind. On January 19th, he created a spreadsheet of "traitors," including Schumer, Ocasio-Cortez, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Chris Hayes, and a number of other prominent figures.
Although he had allegedly been considering an attack for many years, investigators say Hasson had not yet settled on a method. According to the Post, he kept a "things to do" list, on which a "bombing/sniper campaign" ranked among the options, but he also considered a plague: NBC reports that, in his emails, Hasson wondered where he might get his hands on "Spanish flu, botulism, [and] anthrax."
He had allegedly been combing through neo-Nazi and fascist literature online, and also consulted the manifesto penned by Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who murdered 77 people in a terrorist rampage in 2011. According to the Washington Post, he drew inspiration and sourced tips from the 1,500-page document, borrowing Breivik's "cultural Marxist/multiculturalist traitors" classification system and amassing a huge cache of steroids and opioids because Breivik wrote that carrying out such an attack would be physically taxing.
Hasson started work at the Washington, D.C. Coast Guard headquarters in 2016, serving in the Marine Corps and Army decades before that. According to NBC, the Coast Guard took notice when Hasson conducted his internet searches at work, and reportedly cooperated with the FBI and the Department of Justice in their investigation.
"The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct," the government said in court filings, published by the Washington Post. "The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."