Robert Hanssen, the notorious FBI double agent who secretly fed America’s deepest secrets to Russia in the 1980s and 1990s, died Monday at a maximum-security prison, prison officials said.
Being offered to the Soviet military intelligence in 1985. Hansen traded government secrets and the identities of US moles in the Soviet and Russian governments in exchange for diamonds and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Because he was in the FBI’s crucial counterintelligence unit in New York, tasked with pursuing foreign spies, he was able to cover his tracks as he allegedly investigated Moscow’s agents in the United States.
He eventually turned up on February 18, 2001, to exchange messages with his Russian operatives in suburban Virginia near Washington, D.C.
A year later, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
HansenThe 79-year-old was found dead early Monday at the US maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, and later pronounced dead, the prison said in a statement.
The FBI called him “the most damaging spy in the bureau’s history.”
Hansen joined FBI in 1976 after first serving as a police officer in Chicago.
Nine years later, he took a counterintelligence position in the New York office, where agents spent an enormous amount of time tracking and trying to recruit Soviet officials at the United Nations.
Instead, in no time, he offered his services to the other man under the name “Ramon Garcia,” and even his servants did not know his true identity.
At the time he was caught, he was considered the most damaging mole ever to pass US secrets to a foreign government, as thousands of classified US documents were handed over to the Soviets and later to the Russians.
These included US nuclear war plans, software to track espionage investigations and the identities of US sources in Moscow, including Dmitry Polyakov, or “Topat”, a Soviet general who supplied his country’s secrets to the United States in the 1960s and 1980s.
Polyakov was arrested in 1986 and executed a few years later.
Supposedly motivated by money and intrigue rather than ideology, Hansen amassed nearly $1.4 million in cash and diamonds for his frauds.
While the FBI and CIA knew for several years that they had a well-placed informant in their ranks, Hansen was in favor long not a prime suspect.
He had a wife and six children, lived frugally, and mingled closely with Washington’s conservative Catholic elite.
US investigators eventually paid more attention with Hansen tidbits of information provided by a Russian expat.
He was secretly followed and recorded in his office for months before he was caught in a Virginia morgue.
2002 In May, he pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage in exchange for a plea agreement not to seek the death penalty.
“I apologize for my behavior, I am ashamed of it.” Hansen said at his sentencing.
“I have opened the door of defamation against my completely innocent wife and children,” he said. “I have deeply offended many people.”