Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terrorist attack may face more than 30 years |

Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terrorist attack may face more than 30 years

The Washington Post
U.S. District Court
This image provided by the U.S. District Court in Maryland shows a photo of firearms and ammunition that was in the motion for detention pending trial in the case against Christopher Paul Hasson. The Coast Guard officer, accused of being a white supremacist who compiled a hit list of prominent Democrats, was indicted Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, on firearms and drug charges.

A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of planning a domestic terrorist attack illegally possessed silencers among the arsenal of weapons prosecutors contend he stockpiled for his plot, according to new court filings.

A federal grand jury indicted Christopher Hasson, 49, of Maryland, on Wednesday, adding two new charges related to unlawful possession of silencers to the drug and weapons counts he faced since his initial Feb. 15 arrest.

Two silencers Hasson had in his possession did not have serial numbers and had not been registered as required by law, the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland said in announcing Hasson’s indictment. The indictment, which does not include terrorism-related counts, did not indicate why the silencers lacked serial numbers.

Hasson was taken into custody at work this month after a computer program the Coast Guard uses to search for insider threats flagged suspicious activity connected to him, federal authorities said. After executing a search warrant at his Silver Spring home and office, law enforcement uncovered a cache of weapons from the basement apartment Hasson lived in, prosecutors said; officers also found a spreadsheet of “traitors” and targets of politicians and media personalities he planned to attack.

Prosecutors say Hasson used his government computer to plot an assault, studying the writings of mass shooters and bombers and conducting internet searches on where to find politicians in the Washington area.

Hasson’s federal public defender, Julie Stelzig, argued at his detention hearing that the government’s accusations were “inflammatory” and that there was no indication he planned to carry out an attack. It is not a crime to have negative thoughts, Stelzig added.

In the same alleged plot, Hasson had been charged earlier with possession of firearms and ammunition by an unlawful user of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of tramadol, a painkiller.

Last week, a federal magistrate judge ordered Hasson detained so prosecutors could consider additional charges. Hasson’s next court hearing hasn’t been scheduled.

Prosecutors said Hasson faces up to 31 years in prison for the three weapons charges and tramadol possession if he is convicted.

Hasson has been in the Coast Guard for more than two decades and previously served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard. His secret security clearance has been suspended, Coast Guard officials said.

In some of the writings found in his email, Hasson described himself as a “long time White Nationalist” and contemplated ways to incite violence and turmoil, according to court documents.

” … I can’t just strike to wound I must find a way to deliver a blow that cannot be shaken off,” court documents say Hasson wrote in a draft email found in the “deletions” subfolder of his computer.

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