Tags: Hannsen | Linked | FBI | Computer | Break-ins

Hannsen Linked to FBI Computer Break-ins

Monday, 28 May 2001 12:00 AM

Earl Pitts told The New York Times in a prison interview published Monday that he mentioned the incident in which Hanssen was alleged to have attempted to gain access to information in the computer of another FBI counterintelligence officer. Pitts was questioned in 1997 if he knew of any other people spying for Moscow.

Hanssen was arrested Feb. 18 in Virginia after allegedly dropping off classified information for his Russians handlers. He was named in a 21-count indictment that claims Hanssen was a spy for Russia for more than 15 years. He is to be arraigned Friday in federal court.

Pitts was arrested in 1996 and pleaded guilty to spying from 1987-92 for the Soviet Union and Russia. On June 23, 1997, he was sentenced to 27 years in prison. He was sentenced the same month that he told investigators about his suspicions of Hanssen.

Pitts told the Times of an incident in which a female supervisor from the FBI's counterintelligence section told him, as his role as a part of an internal security unit, said that Hanssen had broken into her computer. The FBI originally thought Pitts was referring to a 1992 incident in which Hanssen broke into the computer of a senior FBI counterintelligence official and possibly into other computers. Hanssen went to the official and admitted the break-in, saying that he was trying to show a weakness in the FBI computer security system and no action was taken against Hanssen.

According to the Times, the FBI issued a statement that read: "During his post-guilty-plea debriefing, Pitts did not identify anyone, either by name of positions, as a spy. Pitts said his Soviet handlers had not identified anyone to him as a spy. Pitts did describe as 'unusual' computer hacking incident involving Hanssen. Pitts did not identify Hanssen as a spy. When asked if he was aware of anything or anyone beyond this hacking incident already known to the FBI, Pitts said "no."

However, Pitts did report that his KGB contact "seemed to have insider information" about the FBI's New York office. Pitts worked in the New York office when he began working for the Soviets. Hanssen was also based in New York until he moved to Washington in 1985.

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Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Earl Pitts told The New York Times in a prison interview published Monday that he mentioned the incident in which Hanssen was alleged to have attempted to gain access to information in the computer of another FBI counterintelligence officer. Pitts was questioned in 1997 if...
Hannsen,Linked,FBI,Computer,Break-ins
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2001-00-28
Monday, 28 May 2001 12:00 AM
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