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Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who turned into a spy for Russia and did significant damage to U.S. national security, was found dead in his prison cell on Monday. He was 79 years old.
“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. “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.”
Hanssen was arrested in 2001 and charged with spying for Russia and the former Soviet Union using the alias “Ramon Garcia.” He earned nearly $1.5 million in cash, diamonds, and bank funds for his treasonous actions.
He started spying for Russia in 1985 and the information that he transferred to them using dead drops “compromised numerous human sources, counterintelligence techniques, investigations, dozens of classified U.S. government documents, and technical operations of extraordinary importance and value,” according to the FBI.
The U.S. government eventually caught Hanssen when they secured a Russian document that appeared to identify him as their source. An extensive subsequent investigation caught him red-handed giving classified material to the Russians.
He pled guilty to 15 counts of espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He served his time at the supermax prison in Colorado, which is considered to be the most secure prison in the world.
“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.”
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