DUS double agent Robert Hanssen, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage for the Soviet Union and Russia, is dead. The 79-year-old was found lifeless in his cell at the maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado on Monday, federal prison authorities said. Resuscitation measures were therefore unsuccessful. The notorious spy was then pronounced dead.
The agent of the US federal police FBI was arrested in February 2001 in a suburb of the US capital Washington. The agency’s “most damaging spy in history,” according to the FBI, was later sentenced to life in prison without parole for espionage.
In 1985, Hanssen had offered himself to the Soviet military intelligence service under the alias “Ramon Garcia”. For years he provided the Soviet Union and then Russia with secret information about the USA and also uncovered the identities of US informants. In return, he received approximately $1.4 million worth of diamonds and cash.
Hanssen had joined the FBI in 1976 and spent most of his time working in the intelligence branch of the federal police. He thus had access to secret information from several US intelligence services on foreign espionage and counterintelligence. He gave the Soviet Union and later Russia thousands of secret documents about nuclear weapons, spy software and US sources in Moscow.
The US authorities have known for years that there was a mole in their ranks. But it took them a long time to track down Hanssen, who appeared to lead a simple life with his wife and six children.
In May 2002, Hanssen pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage as part of an agreement with prosecutors. He avoided a possible death penalty. “I apologize for my behavior,” he said in court at the time. “I am feeling ashamed for that.”