Robert Hanssen was one of the most damaging to ever infiltrate the FBI. He first joined the FBI in 1976, and joined the Soviet military intelligence agency (called GRU) in 1979.
In 1980, his wife caught him holding classified papers. He confessed he was selling secrets to the Soviets, but said the information on the documents were useless. However, his wife insisted he cut ties with the Soviets & confess to a priest. The priest told Hanssen to donate the money earned from selling secrets to a Catholic charity, which he did.
Hanssen continued to spy for the Soviets in 1985, this time for the KGB, which was the main security agency for the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, he continued to rise through the FBI ranks. During his time in the FBI, he breached lots of safety protocols, including frequently mentioning classified information to those not authorized to know it. In 1991, he dropped the spy work briefly in the time the Soviet Union was dissolving out of fear of discovery. In 1999, he began spying again, this time for the SVR, the Russian intelligence service.
Hanssen had lead a double life for almost 15 years before he was finally arrested February 18th, 2001 while placing a garbage bag of secret information at a "dead drop" so it could later be picked up by Russians. He was surrounded by police men after he emerged from the dead drop, one of which clapped handcuffs around his wrists. Hanssen managed to escape the death penalty by agreeing to a long interrogation and pleading guilty to 15 counts of espionage.
Drop off point and mugshot
During Hanssen's time as a spy, he handed over thousands of documents containing classified material. Such material included the identities of a few Soviets spying for the US (most of which were arrested and/or executed), details about America's nuclear operations, the existence of an FBI-built tunnel underneath the Soviet Embassy in Washington, and more.
For his work, Hanssen was paid approximately 1.4 million dollars. He is currently serving 15 consecutive life sentences at the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado without the possibility of parole.
The reason for his betrayal remains unknown. His actions have been described as being "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history."
Hanssen's actions related to the Cold War by spying on and releasing information about the United States. He caused the executions, exposure, and arrests of several spies for the United States as well as the release of classified information.
(1)"Robert Hanssen." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 23 June 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. (2)Nix, Elizabeth. "6 Daring Double Agents." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 06 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. (3)Risen, James. "Spy's Wife Speaks, After Taking a Lie Test." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 May 2002. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.