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Coast Guard lieutenant accused of having hit list of Democrats and journalists granted possibility of release

A federal judge on Thursday has granted pre-trial release to a Coast Guard lieutenant who officials said had a hit list of prominent Democrats and journalists. Christopher Hasson, 50, was arrested in February on drug and gun charges, but he had not been charged with terrorism-related offenses.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day noted that he had "grave concerns" about the charges against Hasson.  

It's not clear when Hasson will be released. The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement on Thursday that the defense will present a release plan and the government will oppose any plan. "If Judge Day does order the defendant's release, the Government intends to appeal such release to the U.S. District Judge presiding over the case, on the basis of the danger to the community posed by the defendant." 

If Day does approve a release plan, it's unclear where Hasson would be confined. Day said in court Hasson is "going to have to have a whole lot of supervision." 

The charging documents filed in February said Hasson "wanted to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen," CBS Baltimore reports

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An arsenal of firearms found in the home of Christopher Hasson. U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland

Hasson is a former Marine who worked at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington.  Federal prosecutors said in February that Hasson had compiled what appeared to be a computer-spreadsheet hit list that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Also mentioned were such figures as MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN's Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.

In arguments against bail in February, federal prosecutor Jennifer Sykes said Hasson would log onto his government computer during work and spend hours searching for information on such people as the Unabomber, the Virginia Tech gunman and anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph.

Sykes said the charges so far are just the "tip of the iceberg" and called Hasson a "domestic terrorist" who appeared to be planning attacks inspired by the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people, including dozens of teenagers at a summer camp, in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage. Sykes said Hasson identified as a white nationalist in writings obtained by the government.