Authorities to sweep Coast Guard HQ following arrest of officer
Law enforcement officials will conduct a “complete sweep” of Coast Guard headquarters, where a self-described white nationalist whom the government has accused of being a domestic terrorist worked, according to an internal message to workers.
The government has alleged that Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson is a self-described white supremacist and maintained a hit list of prominent Democrats and journalists, including individuals at CNN and MSNBC. Hasson is currently in federal custody on drug and gun charges.
In the internal message obtained by CNN, Coast Guard headquarters Commander Rear Adm. J.M. Vojvodich said Hasson was monitored “closely” by law enforcement inside Coast Guard headquarters during the investigation, which began last year, and surveillance “indicated no reason to believe (Hasson) took any actions that could threaten the workforce.”
Nevertheless, as a “precaution,” a sweep of headquarters will take place in addition to canine sweeps that have already occurred of the floor where Hasson worked as well as the mailroom and loading dock.
The commandant of the Coast Guard also sent an email late Thursday to members of the Coast Guard regarding the arrest of Hasson.
In it, Adm. Karl Schultz praises Coast Guard investigators and FBI for preventing a “potentially dangerous situation from escalating.”
“Extremism, hate, bigotry, and advocacy of violence have no place” in the Coast Guard and anyone “espousing these behaviors” will be “held accountable,” he wrote.
Vojvodich said Hasson will not return to Coast Guard headquarters. He also added, “LT Hasson did not describe potential actions against the Coast Guard or our people.”
Hasson, 49, was charged last Friday with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as possession of the controlled substance Tramadol. But in a memo requesting his detention and again in court on Thursday, the government said those charges “are the proverbial tip of the iceberg.”
Following a Thursday hearing, US Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day ordered he be detained pending trial. Hasson’s legal team can come back to court to fight the detention after 14 days if the government doesn’t charge him by then with additional criminal activity related to domestic terrorism.
Court documents allege that Hasson espoused extremist and white supremacist views and that he relied on the manifesto of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian who was convicted in 2011 of two terror attacks that killed 77 people.
The government also said Hasson stockpiled steroids and human growth hormone “to increase his ability to conduct attacks,” consistent with the directions in Breivik’s manifesto.
“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” prosecutors wrote in the court documents.
Hasson’s attorney, Julie Stelzig, argued on Thursday that he has a wife and children and has served his community by volunteering. She stressed that Hasson has “dedicated his entire life to his country” and has been in the Coast Guard for more than 20 years.