Robert Hanssen

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Robert Philip Hanssen is a former ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation’ (‘FBI’) agent who gained notoriety as a notorious double agent for the Soviet Union’s and later Russia’s intelligence services. He emerged as one of the most destructive spies to have infiltrated the ‘FBI,’ resulting in what is likely the worst intelligence disaster in US history. His twenty-two-year espionage campaign against the United States began in 1979. He was eventually apprehended in Foxstone Park in early 2001 for trading classified US information with the Soviet Union and later with the Russian Federation. His over two decades of espionage earned him over 1.4 million dollars in cash and diamonds. In mid-2001, he was charged with fifteen counts of spying and sentenced to fifteen life terms without the possibility of parole in the ‘United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.’ He is currently serving his fifteenth consecutive life sentence at a federal supermax prison called the ‘ADX Florence’.

Table of Contents

Childhood & Adolescence

He was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 18, 1944, to Howard and Vivian Hanssen. His father, a Chicago police officer, frequently ridiculed and abused him emotionally. The sustained abuse he endured not only complicated his childhood, but also followed him throughout his life.

He graduated from ‘William Howard Taft High School’ in 1962. He then enrolled at ‘Knox College’ in Galesburg, Illinois, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 1966. He performed admirably in his elective, Russian.

His application for a cryptographer position at the ‘National Security Agency’ was denied due to budget constraints.

He then enrolled at ‘Northwestern University’ in Evanston, Illinois, intending to study dentistry but switching to business studies after three years.

He earned a master’s degree in business administration in accounting and information systems in 1971.

Career of Robert

He worked for a year in an accounting firm before being hired by the ‘Chicago Police Department’. He worked as an internal affairs investigator with a focus on forensic accounting. He was assigned the task of investigating police officers suspected of corruption.

He joined the ‘FBI’ in January 1976 after approximately five years. On January 12 of that year, he was assigned to the FBI’s field office in Gary, Indiana, and was reassigned to the New York field office in 1978.

The following year, he was assigned to the counterintelligence division, where he was tasked with the responsibility of organizing Soviet intelligence data.

In 1979, he approached the Soviet military intelligence service, ‘GRU,’ to offer his services as an espionage agent.

He disclosed information about the FBI’s surveillance activities and provided the GRU with information about suspected Soviet intelligence spies.

The most significant information he shared was about Dmitri Polyakov, a Soviet Army General who spied for

America’s ‘CIA’ while serving in the Soviet Army. In 1981, he was assigned to the ‘Budget Unit’ at the FBI’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. His job in a Vienna suburb included electronic surveillance and wiretapping, which provided him with increased access to various ‘FBI’ activities.

After a three-year stint, he was assigned to the ‘Soviet Analytical Unit,’ which was tasked with probing, identifying, and apprehending Soviet agents in the United States.

After being transferred to the New York field office in 1985, he continued his counterintelligence work. His lengthy and active career as a Soviet spy began on October 1, 1985, when he sent an unsigned letter to ‘KGB’ mentioning the names of at least three KGB agents who were covertly serving the FBI. He was compensated with $5,000 and jewelry for this work.

Interestingly, following his relocation to Washington in 1987, he was assigned a specific probe that required him to search for himself, which he handled deftly.

When Felix Bloch, a State Department official, came under investigation by the ‘FBI’ in 1989, Hanssen immediately informed the ‘KGB,’ which immediately severed all ties with Bloch. The investigation was unsuccessful, and the FBI was unable to bring any charges against Bloch. The ‘KGB’ becoming aware of the investigation prompted the ‘FBI’ to look for the leak.

He leaked information about America’s plan to establish ‘Measurement and Signature Intelligence,’ its plan to bug the Soviets by digging a tunnel beneath the Soviet Union’s new embassy’s decoding room, and data on US double agents. The Soviets compensated him handsomely.

Mark Wauck, a ‘FBI’ employee and Hanssen’s brother-in-law, prompted his superior to investigate Hanssen in 1990 after a large sum of cash was discovered in his home, but no action was taken.

He ceased selling classified information to the ‘KGB’ in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and possibly because the ‘FBI’ was on the lookout for a possible defector.

In 1992, he was appointed chief of the ‘National Security Threat List Unit’ of the ‘FBI’ in Washington, D.C. In 1993, he took a calculated risk by personally approaching a ‘GRU’ official and offering his espionage services, mentioning his codename ‘Ramon Garcia,’ but the official refused.

Though the Russians lodged an official protest, he got away with it because the FBI’s investigation into this matter stalled.

In 1995, he was designated as a liaison between the ‘Department of State’s’Office of Foreign Missions’ and the ‘FBI’.

In 1999, he made contact with the ‘Russian Foreign Intelligence Service,’ the ‘SVR,’ which succeeded the ‘KGB’ prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. He provided Russia with classified information about US intelligence and counterintelligence operations.

Because the ‘FBI’ had been on the lookout for a turncoat for a long period of time, they initially suspected a ‘CIA’ officer but eventually zeroed in on Hanssen, most likely as a result of a leak from a Russian defector. In January 2001, the ‘FBI’ relocated him to its headquarters in order to closely monitor his activities.

On February 18, 2001, he was apprehended by the ‘FBI’ while storing a waste bag containing classified information in a pre-planned location from which his Russian handler could collect it.

He avoided the death penalty by agreeing to cooperate with government agents as part of a plea deal. On July 6, 2001, he was charged with fifteen counts of espionage in the ‘United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.’

On May 10, 2002, he was sentenced to fifteen life sentences without the possibility of parole. He is currently serving his fifteenth consecutive life sentence at a federal supermax prison, the ‘ADX Florence,’ as prisoner #48551-083.

Personal History and Legacies

He married Bernadette “Bonnie” Wauck, a devout Catholic, on August 10, 1968. His wife was a theology instructor at ‘Oakcrest’. Later in life, he would convert from Lutheranism to Catholicism.

The Hanssens were members of the Catholic fraternal organization ‘Opus Dei’. All six of his children attended schools affiliated with ‘Opus Dei.’ When Bonnie discovered his espionage, he confessed to a ‘Opus Dei’ priest, donated money to a Catholic charity, and swore never to spy again.

For a time, he corresponded with Priscilla Sue Galey, a Washington stripper who received cash, jewelry, and other perks from Hanssen. Hanssen, she claims, never slept with her.

EstimatedNet Worth

The estimated net worth of Robert is about $600000.