Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Louis J. Free and U.S. Attorney General Helen Fach announced today that a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was arrested by the FBI on Sunday, And was charged with espionage by providing Russia and the former Soviet Union with highly classified national security information.
At the time of his arrest in a park in Vienna, Virginia, Robert Philip Hanssen, 56, was secretly placing a package containing highly classified information at a prearranged or “dead place” for His Russians took it. handler. Hansen had previously received huge sums of money from Russians for the information he disclosed to them.
FBI Director Louis J. Freeh expressed anger and sadness. He said the allegations, if proven, would be “the most serious violations — and threats to national security.”
“The betrayal of trust by an FBI agent who not only swore to enforce the law, but specifically to help keep our country safe is especially abhorrent. This crime is the most treasonous act imaginable against a country ruled by law. It also hits the FBI At the heart of everything it stands for – the commitment of the more than 28,000 honest and dedicated men and women in the FBI who work hard every day to earn the trust and confidence of the American people.”
“These types of cases are among the most difficult, sensitive and complex imaginable. I am incredibly proud of the FBI staff who conducted this investigation. Their actions represent the best possible counterintelligence, reflecting a commitment to principles and mission Dedication. Investigating a colleague was not an easy task, but they did so without hesitation, quietly and safely.”
Hansen is charged with espionage and conspiracy to commit espionage in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va., violations that could carry life sentences and, in some cases, the death penalty. After his arrest, FBI agents began searching Hansen’s home, car and workplace for more evidence.
A detailed affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint and search warrant troublingly recounts how Hansen first voluntarily provided highly sensitive documents to KGB intelligence officers assigned to the Soviet embassy in Washington. Hanssen’s classified national security and counterintelligence information in exchange for diamonds and cash worth more than $600,000.
According to the affidavit, Hansen’s activities were also linked to other earlier espionage and national security investigations, including the Aldridge Ames and Felix Bloch cases.
On more than 20 separate occasions, Hansen secretly sent packages to the KGB and its successor, SVR, to airdrop locations in the Washington area, the affidavit said. He also provided more than two dozen computer floppy disks containing additional disclosures. According to the affidavit, Hansen provided the KGB/SVR with more than 6,000 pages of valuable documentation.
The affidavit alleges that Hansen leaked numerous human resources from the U.S. intelligence community, dozens of classified U.S. government documents, including “top secret” and “password” documents, and technical operations of extraordinary importance and value. It also accused Hansen of undermining the FBI’s counterintelligence investigative techniques, sources, methods, and operations, and disclosed to the KGB the FBI’s undercover investigation of diplomat Felix Bloch’s espionage.
Free said that while a formal damage assessment could not be made without jeopardizing the investigation before the arrest, it was believed the damage would be exceptional.