(RoyalPatriot.com )- A new book by author Lis Wiehl delves into the inside story of infamous FBI agent turned Russian spy Robert Hanssen, whose espionage efforts were once described by the US Justice Department as “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history.”
In her book, “A Spy in Plain Sight,” Wiehl, a former federal prosecutor and the daughter of an FBI agent, interviewed both former and current FBI and CIA agents and asked if there was a risk of another Robert Hanssen emerging today. And all of them said there was. What’s more, many suspect there already is.
Robert Hanssen was an FBI counterintelligence agent with top-secret clearances who began spying for the Russians in the early 1980s. During his 20 years working for the Russians, double agents and assets working in the Soviet Union were outed and a steady stream of US intel was leaked to Russia.
Hanssen was arrested in February 2001 as he was returning from placing classified materials at a dead drop near his Washington DC home. He was charged with selling US intelligence to the Soviet Union, and later Russia, in exchange for over $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.
Hanssen pleaded guilty to 14 counts of espionage and one count of conspiracy to commit espionage and received fifteen life sentences without the possibility of parole.
In a column at the Daily Beast promoting her book, Wiehl notes that the lines Hanssen crossed not only will get crossed again, but they already have.
She cites the recent case of Jonathan Toebbe, a civilian nuclear propulsion expert with the US Navy, and his wife who were charged with attempting to sell classified documents on US nuclear submarines to an undercover FBI agent using dead drops.
Toebbe initially sent classified documents to an unidentified foreign government in April 2020 offering to sell more. Fortunately, the foreign government turned the documents over to the FBI who set up an undercover operation to catch him and his wife as they delivered more top-secret documents.