UPDATED with Anderson Cooper remarks: A Coast Guard officer stationed in Washington, D.C., stands accused of plotting a mass terrorist attack whose intended victims include prominent journalists at MSNBC and CNN and Democratic politicians.
For now, the suspect is being held only on weapons and drug charges, but at the very top of their detention memo filied today with the U.S. District Court in Maryland, prosecutors wrote: “The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.”
Lt. Christopher Hasson, 49, was arrested last week at his home in Silver Spring, MD. The court documents say authorites found a hit list on his computer that named prominent media personalities including CNN’s Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes and Ari Melber.
Also named were politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Sens. Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand and Richard Blumenthal; Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Ilhan Omar and Sheila Jackson Lee; ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke; and former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
“We are very grateful to the dedicated and skillful law enforce officials who discovered this dangerous plot and thank them,” CNN said in a statement. “Their work undoubtedly saved many lives.” Deadline also has reached out to MSNBC for comment.
During his CNN primetime program, Anderson Cooper noted “This is now the second guy with basically a hit list of politicians and journalists; the other guy was the person sending bombs.”
COoper was referencing the Florida supporter of President Donald Trump who was arrested last fall for allegedly send 14 other pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters, former CIA Director John Brennan, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Some of those bomb targets also were on the Coast Guard officer’s hit list.
“This is not happening in the vacuum. You can’t ignore the people on the list, many of them…the president has directly attacked,” Cooper said, noting documents found at the residence of the latest would-be terrorist referenced Trump, including a note that said “civil war if Trump impeached.”
Ahead of his CNN show tonight, Cuomo told Cooper: “This is scary. This is something that the people who get named, we have to deal with, especially with our family because while we accept it as just the nature of the world we live in these days.”
Authorities also seized at least 15 weapons — rifles, pistols and shotguns — and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from the basement of Hasson’s home. They said he had been stockpiling arms for two years. See the photo above.
In the court filing, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said the current weapons charges against Hasson, who the feds describe as a white supramacist and former Marine, are “the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect government conduct.”
Prosecutor also said the suspect was inspired by the Norwigian domestic terrorist who murdered 77 people in gun and bomb attacks in July 2011. They also found a Google search on his computer for “civil war if Donald Trump impeached.”
Hur also cited a nearly two-year-old unsent email on the suspect’s computer that said (all sic): “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. 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. Interesting idea the other day. Start with bioilogical attacks followed by an attack on the food supply. …”
Hasson will have a detention hearing at 1 pm ET Thursday. The documents first were reported by Seamus Hughes of The Program on Extremism at George Washington University.
The case comes four months after a Florida man was charged with sending a series of mail bombs to prominent Democrats, CNN offices and elsewhere. More than a dozen devices were found, but none exploded.