The Coast Guard officer described by prosecutors as a “domestic terrorist” who plotted to kill prominent Democrats and journalists is not facing any terrorism charges, ThinkProgress reports.
Christopher Hasson was arrested last month on weapons and drug charges after investigators found he compiled a hit list of prominent Democrats and built an arsenal of weapons.
“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” prosecutors said in a detention motion at the time. “The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.”
The motion described Hasson’s obsession with Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik and his thousands of online searches for neo-Nazi material.
When Hasson was arraigned on Monday, however, he was charged with one count of unlawful possession of two improperly registered silencers, possession of 17 firearms by an unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance.
Prosecutors say more charges may be brought later despite the ample evidence of terrorism described in the detention motion.
Unlike ISIS, domestic terrorists get 1st Amendment protection:
“Law enforcement officials frequently struggle to bring domestic terrorism charges, even in seemingly obvious cases like Hasson’s,” wrote ThinkProgress’ Luke Barnes. "When dealing with alleged extremists tied to ISIS, for example, federal prosecutors are allowed to present a wide-range of ‘evidence’ proving the individual’s support for the group — including retweets or re-posted gifs from social media accounts belonging to other sympathizers — in order to bring terrorism charges.”
“But domestic groups, including far-right extremists, enjoy First Amendment protections which means that professing support for them technically does not constitute ‘terrorism’ in the same sense,” Barnes added. “It also means online searches for neo-Nazis, or the manifestos of lone wolves like Breivik, do not constitute support for terrorism in the same way.”
Every 2018 extremist killing was tied to right-wing extremism:
Though groups like ISIS dominate the conversation when politicians and news media types discuss terrorism, a report by the Anti-Defamation League found that “every single extremist killing” in 2018 was found to have a “link to right-wing extremism.”
According to the report, 50 people were killed by right-wing extremists last year, including the Parkland school shooting carried out by a Trump supporter and the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting carried out by an avowed white nationalist.
“The deaths described here represent merely the tip of a pyramid of extremist violence and crime in the United States; for each person killed by an extremist, many more are wounded or injured in attempted murders and assaults,” the ADL said. “Extremists engage in a wide variety of other crimes related to their causes, from threats and harassment to white collar crime.”