A Coast Guard officer accused of compiling a target list of Democratic presidential candidates and media personalities amid threats of mass violence will remain behind bars while his case moves forward, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Thursday.
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested Feb. 15 on drug and weapons possession charges, but a document filed by a U.S. attorney allege a much more far-reaching pattern of sinister activity, including plans to commit mass murder to further a neo-Nazi and white nationalist agenda.
In the Greenbelt location of U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day granted a detention order for Hasson.
"The defendant is remanded to the custody of the Attorney General or to the Attorney General's designated representative for confinement in a corrections facility separate, to the extent practicable, from persons awaiting or serving sentences or being held in custody pending appeal, the order reads."
The document indicates that the judge was convinced to order detention for Hassan "by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community."
His detention is subject to appeal.
Hasson had been assigned to the Acquisitions Directorate of the Coast Guard's Washington, D.C. headquarters when he was arrested at his home in Silver Spring. A cache of 15 weapons and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were seized at the time.
A Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, told Military.com Thursday in a statement that Hasson, who previously served in the Army National Guard and the Marine Corps, had been under investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service since fall 2018 after the Coast Guard Insider Threat "first identified concerns about him."
He was arrested by the FBI and CGIS "once they were confident in the strength of the evidence supporting the criminal complaint and warrant," McBride said.
Hasson entered the Coast Guard in March 1996, serving first as an enlisted electronics technician and then earning a promotion to chief warrant officer in 2012, according to information provided by McBride. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in 2015, and received his assignment at Coast Guard headquarters the following year.
"Lt. Hasson will remain on active duty until the legal case against him is adjudicated. Unlawful possession of drugs and firearms, as well as advocacy for supremacist doctrine, ideology, or causes, violates Coast Guard policy, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and our organizational core values," McBride said in a statement.
A Marine Corps spokeswoman, Yvonne Carlock, said Hasson had enlisted in December 1988 and risen to the rank of corporal as an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft mechanic. He was discharged from the Marines in January 1994.
Months later, he joined the Virginia Army National Guard, a National Guard spokesman told Military.com. He served as an infantry soldier in the now-defunct 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment. He then transferred to the Arizona Army National Guard in September 1995, serving there until he was discharged in 1996.
Hasson's extremist beliefs, violent ideations, and self-described addition to the pain drug Tramadol appear not to have raised any flags for the military prior to the Coast Guard's investigation last fall.
On his computer, according to the U.S. attorney, were messages in which he fantasized about mass murder.
"Dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth," he allegedly wrote in one missive. "I think a plague would be most successful."
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.