On Monday, Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who became a Russian traitor and significantly harmed U.S. national security, was discovered deceased in his prison cell. He had 79 years of age.
“On Monday, June 5, 2023, at approximately 6:55 am, inmate Robert Hansen was found unresponsive at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) specifically, the ADX in Florence, Colorado,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement, according to The Daily Wire.
“Responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures. Staff requested emergency medical services and life-saving efforts continued. The inmate was subsequently pronounced dead by outside emergency medical personnel.”
Since at least 1985, Hanssen had divulged a huge amount of information regarding American intelligence collecting, including extensive information regarding how U.S. officials had tapped into Russian espionage operations.
It is believed that he was partially responsible for the murders of at least three Soviet officers who worked for U.S. intelligence and were executed after being discovered.
He was compensated with over $1.4 million in cash, bank funds, gemstones, and Rolex watches for providing highly classified national security information to the Soviet Union and, later, Russia.
He lived in a modest Virginia suburb with his wife and six children, driving a Taurus and a minivan, and bypassed an obviously extravagant lifestyle.
Hanssen later claimed that he was motivated by money rather than ideology, but a 1985 letter to his Soviet controllers explains that a large payment could have caused complications because he was unable to spend it without raising suspicions.
Using the alias "Ramon Garcia," he allegedly provided his operators with approximately 6,000 documents and 26 computer disks. They divulged information on surveillance techniques, helped confirm the identities of Russian double agents, and revealed additional secrets. Officials believed he informed Moscow of a covert surveillance tunnel constructed by the United States under the Soviet Embassy in Washington.
He remained undetected for years, but subsequent investigations uncovered red flags that were overlooked. Hanssen was captured affixing a refuse bag containing secrets to the underside of a park footbridge as a "dead drop" for Russian handlers after he became the subject of a manhunt for a Russian mole.
In 2007, the narrative was adapted into the film "Breach" starring Chris Cooper as Hanssen and Ryan Phillippe as a youthful bureau operative who assists in bringing him down.
Bureau of Prisons reports that the FBI has been notified of Hanssen's death.
“A betrayal of trust by an FBI Agent, who is not only sworn to enforce the law but specifically to help protect our nation’s security, is particularly abhorrent,” then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh said at the time.
“This kind of criminal conduct represents the most traitorous action imaginable against a country governed by the Rule of Law.”