Robert Hansen, the former FBI agent who was convicted of spying for Russia, has died at the age of 79.

Robert HansenA former FBI agent who was one of the most damaging spies in American history was found dead in his jail cell Monday morning, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Hansen, 79, was arrested in 2001 and pleaded guilty to selling top secret materials to the Soviet Union and later Russia. He was serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

Robert Hansen.  jpg
Robert Hansen


Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Kristi Brechers said in a statement that Hansen did not respond and that staff immediately initiated life-saving measures.

“Staff called for emergency medical services and life-saving efforts continued,” Prechers said. Subsequently, outside medical personnel declared the inmate dead.”

The cause of death was not mentioned.

Three years after being hired by the FBI, Hanssen became close to the Soviets and began spying in 1979 for the KGB and its successor, the SVR. He stopped a few years later after his wife confronted him.

He resumed espionage in 1985, selling thousands of classified documents that compromised human sources, counterintelligence techniques, and investigations for more than $1.4 million in cash, diamonds, and foreign bank deposits. Using the alias “Ramon Garcia”, he passed information to spy agencies using encrypted communications and dead drops, without ever personally meeting a Russian handler.

Eric O’Neill, who went undercover for the FBI while investigating Hanssen, told CBS News that Hanssen came from a complex background and had issues with his father, who wanted him to major in medicine. But Hansen, who attended dental school, wanted to be in law enforcement.

“He really wanted to catch spies,” O’Neill said. “He was a James Bond fanatic, and he loved movies.” “He could quote her chapter and poetry. He wanted to be a spy. He was joining the FBI to do it—not to spy against the United States, but to go in and hunt down spies.”

But he was angry when he didn’t get the exact job he wanted with the FBI, and it was too expensive to take care of his growing family while living in New York and later in the Washington, D.C. area.

“And that led him to decide he was going to get everything he wanted — to become a spy,” O’Neill said.

His job at the FBI gave him unfettered access to classified information about the bureau’s counterintelligence operations. It included revealing details about U.S. preparations for nuclear war and a secret eavesdropping tunnel under the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. He also betrayed double agents, including Soviet General Dmitry Polyakov, who was later executed.

Hanssen was arrested after a deadlift in a Virginia park in 2001 after the FBI had been secretly watching him for several months. His identity was discovered after a Russian intelligence officer turned over a file containing a trash bag with Hanssen’s fingerprints and a tape recording of his voice.

In letters to the KGB, Hanssen expressed concern that he might one day be arrested, and often checked FBI computers for any sign that he was being investigated.

“In the end I would be grateful for an escape plan,” he wrote in 1986, according to FBI affidavit. (Nothing lasts forever).

Hanssen never revealed his motives for spying. But O’Neill who wrote a book About the investigation to catch Hansen, he has a few theories.

“He really didn’t respect Russia very much, at least not in his conversations with me,” O’Neill said. “But he was able to use it very effectively to solve his other problems. One was that he was angry at the FBI for not putting him in the position of power, charisma, and respect that he thought he deserved. And second, he needed the money. He had money problems and he needed the money and you.” You solve these two problems by becoming a spy.”

He added, “At some point, espionage and being the Soviet Union’s top spy, while inside the FBI, became the thing that made him belong to something much bigger than himself.” “I think at some point, it became more than the money that was really important to him.”

O’Neill said Hansen’s life in prison was “absolutely horrible”. He spent 23 hours a day alone in a small cell.

(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)

Related posts