Tags: FBI's | Hanssen | Charged | With | Spying

FBI's Hanssen Charged With Spying

Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM

Hanssen's attorneys indicated earlier that the sticking point in the negotiations was how much cooperation their client would give to U.S. investigators in exchange for a promise not to seek the death penalty or life in prison. There were indications the government wanted more time to negotiate, but Hanssen's lawyers broke off the talks thinking they could get more in return for his complete cooperation.

Hanssen's cooperation is considered essential if investigators are to learn the full extent of the damage he allegedly caused.

Wednesday's indictment, returned by a federal grand jury, accuses Hanssen of conspiracy to commit espionage, 19 counts of espionage, one count of attempted espionage and one count that would cause him to forfeit any property or cash he obtained from espionage.

Hanssen, 57, has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said they believe he has spied for Moscow for much of the last 15 years, using his former position as an FBI counterintelligence official to get more than $1.4 million in cash and diamonds from the Russians.

A statement from the U.S. attorney's office said Hanssen, "a career FBI agent who worked in the National Security Division," delivered documents to Soviet agents, and later Russian agents, that contained "information relating to the national defense of the United States."

Hanssen also is charged with giving the Russians the identities of "individuals acting as agents of the United States" in Russia), resulting in the deaths of two of the agents.

Some of the documents allegedly transmitted by Hanssen to the Russians "were those which directly concerned satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence and major elements of defense strategy."

Conviction on several of the counts could lead to the death penalty or life in prison. Conviction on any of the counts could result in up to a $250,000 fine.

The Justice Department and the FBI believe Hanssen received more than $1.4 million from the Russians, including "$800,000 maintained on behalf of Hanssen by the KGB and [its successor agency] the SVR" in overseas accounts, "and approximately $600,000 in cash and diamonds obtained by the defendant from the KGB and the SVR."

The government would attempt to seize all of those assets if Hanssen is convicted on the forfeiture count.

A 27-year veteran of the FBI, Hanssen has been held in an undisclosed federal detention center since his arrest. His arraignment is scheduled June 1.

Hanssen was arrested Feb. 18 near his Vienna, Va., home while allegedly using a "dead drop" - a secure place chosen to deposit documents for later pickup by his Russian handlers. The FBI said at the time of the arrest it found a package containing highly classified information and another package nearby that contained $50,000 in cash, allegedly left at the drop for Hanssen.

Hanssen allegedly kept his identity secret even from his Russian handlers and worked with them using the code name Ramon.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Hanssen's attorneys indicated earlier that the sticking point in the negotiations was how much cooperation their client would give to U.S. investigators in exchange for a promise not to seek the death penalty or life in prison. There were indications the government wanted...
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2001-00-16
Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM
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