Christopher Paul Hasson

Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard officer, is a white supremacist and far-right extremist accused of plotting to assassinate prominent Democratic politicians and journalists in an effort to establish a “white homeland.”Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178. According to official court records, Hasson was inspired by Anders Breivik, a convicted Norwegian far-right domestic terrorist who killed 77 people in 2011.“‘Breivik manifesto’ details chilling attack preparation,” BBC, July 24, 2011, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-14267007; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178. On February 15, 2019, Hasson was arrested in his Maryland home on illegal weapon and drug charges. Law enforcement reportedly seized 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as steroids, supplements, opioid pills, and 30 bottles of what appeared to be human growth hormone.Mary Kay Mallonee and Caroline Kelly, “Coast Guard officer accused of wanting to kill Democrats and journalists was inspired by Norwegian mass shooting, feds say,” CNN, February 21, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/politics/coast-guard-mass-killing-hit-list/index.html; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178. In October 2019, Hasson pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict, and possession of a controlled substance.Christine Hauser, “Coast Guard Officer Called a ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Pleads Guilty to Gun and Drug Charges,” New York Times, October 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/03/us/christopher-hasson-coast-guard-white-supremacist.html. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in January 2020.Michael Levenson, “Former Coast Guard Officer Accused of Plotting Terrorism Is Sentenced to 13 Years,” New York Times, January 31, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/christopher-hasson-coast-guard-terrorism.html.

Hasson, an active-duty Coast Guard lieutenant and former Marine, was stationed in Washington, D.C., as an acquisitions officer and lived in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is allegedly a self-proclaimed long-term white nationalist and former skinhead. Criminal evidence confirmed that Hasson espoused extremist views for years.Mary Kay Mallonee and Caroline Kelly, “Coast Guard officer accused of wanting to kill Democrats and journalists was inspired by Norwegian mass shooting, feds say,” CNN, February 21, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/politics/coast-guard-mass-killing-hit-list/index.html; “United States of America vs. Christopher Paul Hasson – Motion for Detention Pending Trial,” United States District Court, District of Maryland, February 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/prosecutors-request-to-detain-christopher-hasson/3667d927-2a54-4131-8c6d-158fcedec287_note.html?questionId=9f4d57c1-cf7c-4287-b3ac-62f1b7697775&utm_term=.a675eeb68ecf. Law enforcement found several draft or deleted emails indicating that Hasson explored the idea of a biological weapon attack, advocated for “focused violence” in order to establish a “white homeland,” and was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”“United States of America vs. Christopher Paul Hasson – Motion for Detention Pending Trial,” United States District Court, District of Maryland, February 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/prosecutors-request-to-detain-christopher-hasson/3667d927-2a54-4131-8c6d-158fcedec287_note.html?questionId=9f4d57c1-cf7c-4287-b3ac-62f1b7697775&utm_term=.a675eeb68ecf.

On February 15, 2019, Hasson was arrested on illegal weapons and drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation led by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice.Mary Kay Mallonee and Caroline Kelly, “Coast Guard officer accused of wanting to kill Democrats and journalists was inspired by Norwegian mass shooting, feds say,” CNN, February 21, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/politics/coast-guard-mass-killing-hit-list/index.html. When law enforcement searched his home, they found 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as steroids, supplements, opioid pills, and 30 bottles of what appeared to be human growth hormone.Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178; Mary Kay Mallonee and Caroline Kelly, “Coast Guard officer accused of wanting to kill Democrats and journalists was inspired by Norwegian mass shooting, feds say,” CNN, February 21, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/politics/coast-guard-mass-killing-hit-list/index.html.

The U.S. government noted that the illegal possession of weapons and drugs were the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.”Lynh Bui, “‘I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth’: A self-proclaimed white nationalist planned a mass terrorist attack, the government says,” Washington Post, February 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/self-proclaimed-white-nationalist-planned-mass-terror-attack-government-says-i-am-dreaming-of-a-way-to-kill-almost-every-last-person-on-earth/2019/02/20/61daf6b8-3544-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html?utm_term=.3b17b7fbf08f. Hasson is suspected of plotting to kill prominent Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Senator Kamala Harris of California, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Hasson also allegedly sought to assassinate CNN journalists Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, and Van Jones, as well as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Ari Melber, and Joe Scarborough.Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178; Mary Kay Mallonee and Caroline Kelly, “Coast Guard officer accused of wanting to kill Democrats and journalists was inspired by Norwegian mass shooting, feds say,” CNN, February 21, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/politics/coast-guard-mass-killing-hit-list/index.html.

According to court documents, Hasson was inspired by Anders Breivik, a convicted Norwegian far-right domestic terrorist who killed 77 people by detonating a car bomb and shooting at young attendees at the Norwegian Workers’ Youth League’s annual summer camp in July 2011. Hours prior to the attacks, Breivik published his 1,500-page manifesto online entitled “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence,” condemning multiculturalism, Islam, “cultural Marxists,” and the Norwegian Labour Party. The manifesto was intended as a how-to manual for like-minded “patriots.”Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178; “’Breivik manifesto' details chilling attack preparation,” BBC, July 24, 2011, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-14267007; Siobhán O'Grady, “European court rejects mass murderer Anders Breivik’s claim that isolation in three-room cell is inhumane,” Washington Post, June 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/06/21/european-court-rejects-mass-murderer-anders-breiviks-claim-that-isolation-in-three-room-cell-is-inhumane/?utm_term=.c2e42f7b7eb5; Mark Lewis and Sarah Lyall, “Norway Mass Killer Gets the Maximum: 21 Years,” New York Times, August 24, 2012, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/world/europe/anders-behring-breivik-murder-trial.html.

From early 2017 up to the date of his arrest, Hasson routinely perused portions of Breivik’s manifesto that instruct a prospective assailant to amass appropriate firearms, food, disguises, and survival supplies.“United States of America vs. Christopher Paul Hasson – Motion for Detention Pending Trial,” United States District Court, District of Maryland, February 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/prosecutors-request-to-detain-christopher-hasson/3667d927-2a54-4131-8c6d-158fcedec287_note.html?questionId=9f4d57c1-cf7c-4287-b3ac-62f1b7697775&utm_term=.a675eeb68ecf. Hasson also identified his potential targets based on Breivik’s recommendations, in particular selecting high-profile individuals who are in a known concentrated location and who do not require security details. Hasson reportedly researched online whether U.S. senators receive Secret Service protection and if Supreme Court justices have bodyguards.Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178. Hasson also stockpiled performance-enhancing drugs and opioid pain medication “to increase his ability to conduct attacks,” consistent with the directions in Breivik’s manifesto.Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘They hate white males’: A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say,” Washington Post, February 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/21/they-hate-white-males-norwegian-mass-murderer-inspired-coast-guard-officer-plotting-terror-feds-say/?utm_term=.b9f82a46b178.

Hasson also researched U.S. military technical manuals on improvised munitions and tactical handbooks, visited thousands of websites selling firearms and tactical equipment, and ultimately acquired firearms, equipment, and ammunition.“United States of America vs. Christopher Paul Hasson – Motion for Detention Pending Trial,” United States District Court, District of Maryland, February 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/prosecutors-request-to-detain-christopher-hasson/3667d927-2a54-4131-8c6d-158fcedec287_note.html?questionId=9f4d57c1-cf7c-4287-b3ac-62f1b7697775&utm_term=.a675eeb68ecf. The Coast Guard has stated that Hasson’s alleged plot was flagged by an internal program that detected suspicious activity on his work computer. According to court documents filed in May 2019, Hasson used his Coast Guard computer for hours on a Thursday in February 2018, researching Adolf Hitler, Nazis, and Jewish enclaves in the United States.Lynh Bui, “Prosecutors fight pretrial release of Coast guard officer accused of planning an attack,” Washington Post, May 7, 2019,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/prosecutors-fight-pre-trial-release-of-coast-guard-officer-accused-in-terror-plot/2019/05/07/03b3cb3e-6b89-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html?utm_term=.95b3f652e570.

Hasson pleaded not guilty at his hearing on March 11, 2019.Michael Kunzelman, “Coast Guard officer accused of making hit list pleads not guilty,” Navy Times, March 11, 2019, https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/03/11/coast-guard-officer-accused-of-making-hit-list-pleads-not-guilty/. On April 25, 2019, a federal magistrate ruled that Hasson was entitled to pretrial release from custody and noted that Hasson had not yet been charged with any terrorism-related offenses.Michael Kunzelman, “Release approved for Coast Guard officer accused of terror,” Washington Post, April 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coast-guard-lieutenant-accused-of-terrorism-denied-release/2019/04/25/67904b52-6790-11e9-a698-2a8f808c9cfb_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e80ab1968d34.

On May 7, 2019, federal prosecutors in Maryland moved to block his release. Prosecutors appealed “on the basis of danger of the community posed by the defendant.”Lynh Bui, “Prosecutors fight pretrial release of Coast guard officer accused of planning an attack,” Washington Post, May 7, 2019,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/prosecutors-fight-pre-trial-release-of-coast-guard-officer-accused-in-terror-plot/2019/05/07/03b3cb3e-6b89-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html?utm_term=.95b3f652e570. On May 13, U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel ruled in favor of the government’s appeal and overturned the magistrate’s previous pretrial release decision, ordering Hasson to remain in custody pending trial.Michael Kunzelman, “Federal judge blocks release of coast Guard officer from Maryland who has been called a terrorist,” Associated Press, May 13, 2019, https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-federal-judge-blocks-release-of-coast-guard-hasson-0514-story.html. During the hearing, federal prosecutors presented weapons that Hasson modified to make an attack easier and stated his arrest prevented a “mass casualty event.” Hazel reportedly believed Hasson posed a potential danger to the community if released.Lynh Bui, “Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terrorist attack to remain jailed, judge says,” Washington Post, May 13, 2019,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/coast-guard-officer-accused-of-plotting-terror-attack-to-remain-jailed-judge-says/2019/05/13/d1b48430-741f-11e9-9f06-5fc2ee80027a_story.html?utm_term=.d5f7a2708c9b.

On October 3, 2019, Hasson pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict, and possession of a controlled substance.Christine Hauser, “Coast Guard Officer Called a ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Pleads Guilty to Gun and Drug Charges,” New York Times, October 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/03/us/christopher-hasson-coast-guard-white-supremacist.html. On January 31, 2020, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release.Michael Levenson, “Former Coast Guard Officer Accused of Plotting Terrorism Is Sentenced to 13 Years,” New York Times, January 31, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/christopher-hasson-coast-guard-terrorism.html.

On March 12, 2021, Hasson filed an appeal with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing the judge in his 2020 conviction improperly applied a “terrorism enhancement” that more than tripled the recommended range of a prison term under federal sentencing guidelines. In a separate case, the appeals court ruled a defendant does not need to be convicted of a federal crime of terrorism for the enhancement to be applied. A three-judge panel of the appeals court rejected Hasson’s argument and upheld his sentence on February 22, 2022. According to the court’s Hasson decision, the terrorism enhancement applies “whenever a defendant’s offense of conviction or relevant conduct was ‘intended to promote’ a federal crime of terrorism.”Michael Kunzelman, “Sentence upheld for Coast Guard officer tied to terror plot,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/crime-sentencing-terrorism-060d2ed2d4a737fa0d09bf2ca40c7cf7.

Extremist entity
Unaffiliated
Type(s) of Organization:
N/A
Ideologies and Affiliations:
White supremacist, ethno-nationalism, far-right, racist, violent
Position(s):
Domestic terrorist

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