Christopher Paul Hasson, a US Coast Guard lieutenant and avowed white supremacist, pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges of unlawfully possessing a firearm silencer, illegal possession of the prescription painkiller Tramadol, and possession of a firearm by an addict of a controlled substance.
It was discovered during an investigation that Hasson had stockpiled at least 15 weapons, including assault rifles, as well as over 1,000 rounds of ammunition to potentially be used in carrying out a series of terrorist atrocities and assassinations of Democratic Party politicians, journalists, and others he dubbed “cultural Marxists.”
He is due to be sentenced on January 31 of next year and faces a maximum of 31 years in prison.
Hasson was arrested in February of this year after investigators learned he had been viewing far-right websites on his computer at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he served as an acquisitions officer. Hasson had previously served in the US Marine Corps from 1988 to 1993 as well as two years of active duty in the Army National Guard.
In arguing for his detention without bail, prosecutors in February introduced into evidence several documents found on Hasson’s computer in which he expounded his fascist views, as well as a record of his internet searches which indicate that his plans to carry out an attack had proceeded beyond mere bluster.
In one letter composed to a neo-Nazi leader but never sent, Hasson characterized himself as “a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military.” He went on to write, “I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms marching around provoking people with swastikas etc. I was and am a man of action you cannot change minds protesting like that. However you can make change with a little focused violence.”
Hasson outlined the typical neo-Nazi view that white people in Europe and the US are under siege by Muslim and Jewish people and racial minorities. His letter spoke of the need for a new white homeland and complained about the weakness of other white supremacists.
In one passage, Hasson wrote: “We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost... until whites wake up on their own or are forcibly made to make a decision whether to roll over and die or to stand up remains to be seen.”
Though Hasson was inspired and researched numerous far-right figures, including the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, his primary model was Anders Breivik, the far-right Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in two attacks in 2011, many of them teenagers attending a Social Democratic party summer camp.
Breivik wrote a manifesto in the years leading up to the attack that detailed his ideology and discussed training and tactics for the upcoming war against “globalism,” Islam and “cultural Marxism.” His actions made Breivik a hero among the far right and his manifesto has been cited by numerous far-right terrorists since then, including Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year.
Prosecutors showed that Hasson had purchased multiple firearms from various sources, as well as a large amount of ammunition. He was also found to be in possession of a large cache of human growth hormone, following Breivik’s suggestion that potential terrorists take steroids in preparation for their attacks.
The list of potential targets found on Hasson’s computer included those Democratic Party politicians and media figures routinely attacked by President Donald Trump and his supporters, including most of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, Rep. Rashid Tlaib and the Democratic Socialists of America as a whole, news anchors Joe Scarborough and Chris Hayes from MSNBC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.
The fact that most of Hasson’s proposed targets are all defenders of the capitalist system does not diminish the threat presented by Hasson and others like him. Nor does his conviction minimize the danger. Fascistic individuals and networks have been exposed throughout the police and armed forces, both in the US and internationally, and are being deliberately cultivated and encouraged at the highest levels including by President Trump.