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Coast Guard 'Threat' Program Flagged Weird Computer Use

That reportedly led to investigation into Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2019 9:21 AM CST

(Newser) – The charges filed against a Maryland Coast Guard officer "are the proverbial tip of the iceberg," per federal prosecutors—who were on Thursday given 14 days to come up with the rest of said iceberg. Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson has been hit with fairly minor illegal drug and firearm possession charges, but the government argues he's a "domestic terrorist" who compiled a hit-list of prominent Democrats and journalists and has white supremacist views. The 49-year-old is currently detained pending trial, but CNN reports a judge on Thursday gave prosecutors two weeks to charge him with additional counts in relation to their terrorism assertion; otherwise, Hasson's attorney can argue for his release. What that attorney is arguing now: that it's "not a crime to think negative thoughts about people. It's not a crime to think about doomsday scenarios," which is what federal public defender Julie Stelzig says her client did. More:

  • The Coast Guard began looking into Hasson after its "Insider Threat Program" flagged him. The Washington Post reports the program unearthed computer activity that the agency's investigative service felt warranted a probe. That probe began in the fall, and Hasson was arrested at work on Friday.

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  • NPR dives into the drug charge: Prosecutors allege Hasson was stocking up on human growth hormone and had since 2016 ordered "at least 4,200 Tramadol 100 mg pills," some of which were found at work, where he also allegedly consumed the synthetic opioid. He was allegedly taking drugs "to increase his ability to conduct attacks," advice apparently given in the manifesto of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.
  • Speaking of Breivik, prosecutors allege Hasson spent hours looking up that killer—along with the Unabomber, Virginia Tech gunman, and bomber Eric Rudolph—on a work computer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington.
  • Prosecutors also cited "the sheer number and force of the weapons" found in Hasson's possession—15 firearms and 1,000-plus rounds of ammunition were being kept in the apartment he shared with his wife in Silver Spring, Maryland. His lawyer counters that such a stock is "modest at best" and appropriate for a Marine Corps veteran, which Hasson is.
  • Prosecutors shared some of Hasson's alleged writing. The New York Times has this excerpt: "I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed/ Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something."
  • NPR also cites a June 2, 2017, draft email that contained the widely reported line, "I am dreaming of a way to kill every last person on earth." But it also contained a four-year to-do list, whose items included "get out of debt!!!! Buy van to convert, diesel, Buy land for family out west or possibly NC mtns," and get off Tramadol.
  • Bob Davis rents a house Hasson owns in Currituck County, North Carolina, and tells the AP he was floored by the allegations. "He was a very stern military guy. That's how I saw him. I truly nothing but respected him. There are people in life who are not 100 percenters. He was a 100 percenter" in terms of how hard he worked.
(Here are some of the figures who were allegedly on Hasson's hit list.)

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