Tags: Hanssen | Pleads | Not | Guilty

Hanssen Pleads Not Guilty

Thursday, 31 May 2001 12:00 AM

The indictment accused Hanssen of conspiracy to commit espionage, 19 counts of espionage, one count of attempted espionage and a request by the government that, if convicted, Hanssen would be forced to forfeit any property gained by the alleged espionage. Fourteen of the counts carry a maximum penalty of a death sentence.

Hanssen is accused of working for Moscow from inside the FBI since 1985 in exchange for about $1.4 million in cash and diamonds. The former FBI agent was indicted May 16 after plea-bargain negotiations with the Justice Department broke down.

His attorneys said the department has refused to rule out seeking the death penalty in exchange for Hanssen's complete cooperation with investigators. However, neither side has ruled out further negotiations before Hanssen's trial, scheduled for Oct. 29. Hanssen's cooperation is considered essential if investigators are to learn the extent of the damage he allegedly caused.

Hanssen, who is being held without bond at a federal detention facility in Virginia, appeared "pale and gaunt" during the two-minute proceeding, a CNN correspondent inside the federal courtroom said.

Prosecutors believe Hanssen, 57, spied for Moscow for much of the last 15 years, using his former position as an FBI counterintelligence official.

A statement released this month from the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria said Hanssen, "a career FBI agent who worked in the National Security Division" of the bureau, 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 fines of up to $250,000.

A 27-year veteran of the FBI, 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 pick up by his Russian handlers. The FBI said at the time of the arrest that its agents 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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The indictment accused Hanssen of conspiracy to commit espionage, 19 counts of espionage, one count of attempted espionage and a request by the government that, if convicted, Hanssen would be forced to forfeit any property gained by the alleged espionage. Fourteen of the...
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2001-00-31
Thursday, 31 May 2001 12:00 AM
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