Robert Hanssen’s name may not tell you anything, but he is known as one of the most damaging spies in American history.
This FBI agent turned into a russian mole He was found dead Monday at a maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado.
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Throughout his life Hanssen, 79, received more than $1.4 million in cash, diamonds and money deposited in Russian accounts.
Three hundred agents worked in his case until in 2002 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage.
Hanssen lived in a modest four-bedroom house in suburban Virginia with his wife and six children before his arrest.
Due to his counterintelligence role, he had access to classified information and in 1985 he began his criminal activity, sending material to Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Hanssen, who became an FBI officer on January 12, 1976, usaba the alias “Ramón García” when he corresponded with his supervisors.
According to the FBI website, it “compromised numerous human sources, counterintelligence techniques, investigations, dozens of classified United States government documents, and technical operations of extraordinary importance and value.”
Although there was occasionally some suspicion surrounding his unusual activities, he was not caught for years.
After the FBI arrested spy Aldrich Hazen Ames in 1994, the bureau realized that classified information was still leaking. This prompted the investigation into Hanssen.
As was about to retirethe FBI moved quickly in an effort to catch him “red-handed.”
“What we wanted to do was get enough evidence to convict him, and the ultimate goal was to catch him in the act,” said Debra Evans Smith, former deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division.
Caught red handed”
In order to get him back to FBI headquarters for closer monitoring, he was given a fake assignment.
Hanssen started working in his new office, flooded with hidden cameras and microphonesat FBI headquarters in January 2001.
A month later, investigators learned that he had “a standoff” scheduled at a park.
An impasse is when a person stops material for that otherpick it up later at a predetermined location, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.
On February 18, 2001, Hanssen went to Foxstone Park, located in Virginia, with a plastic bag filled with classified material.
The FBI had seen him frequenting the park before and as he was returning to his vehicle, he was arrested and taken into custody.
During his arrest, he asked the FBI agents: “What took you so long?”
He told interrogators that FBI security was pathetic, but cooperated to avoid the death penalty.
Friends and neighbors said they were shocked by his arrest, describing him as quiet and unassuming.
his family drove to mass every sunday in a 10-year-old van and was said to be a strict father who limited television viewing to his children.
But behind this facade lay a sexual obsession.
Hanssen secretly filmed pornographic videos of his wife and showed them to a friend.
During the time of the arrest, CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, reported that he frequented clubs striptease where he tried to convert strippers to Catholicism.
Besides, published sexually explicit stories about him and his wife online and shared nude photos of her.
In a letter included in an FBI affidavit, Hanssen said that she had been inspired by the British spy Kim Philby.
“I decided on this life when I was 14 years old,” he wrote to his Russian contacts, according to the affidavit.
declared guilty of 15 counts of espionage and in May 2002 he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The prison, ADX Florence, is one of the most secure federal prisons in the nation, which houses other high-profile inmates including al-Qaeda leader Zacarias Moussaoui and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
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