‘Most damaging spy’ in FBI history dies in Colorado prison

Robert Philip Hanssen
Robert Philip Hanssen(FBI)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 1:56 PM MDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2023 at 1:59 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FLORENCE, Colo. (KKTV) - A convicted spy charged with committing espionage on behalf of Russia and the former Soviet Union died in a Colorado prison this week.

According to the FBI, Robert Hanssen became the “most damaging spy” in Bureau history.

“Hanssen’s espionage activities began in 1985,” the history of Hanssen’s case from the FBI reads. “Since he held key counterintelligence positions, he had authorized access to classified information. He used encrypted communications, ‘dead drops,’ and other clandestine methods to provide information to the KGB and its successor agency, the SVR. The information he delivered compromised numerous human sources, counterintelligence techniques, investigations, dozens of classified U.S. government documents, and technical operations of extraordinary importance and value.”

The FBI adds that Hanssen had full access to the FBI’s Automated Case Support (ACS) system and the State Department’s computer systems. Hanssen reportedly went undetected for years until 2000 when authorities were able to secure original Russian documentation of an American spy who appeared to be Hanssen. The ensuing investigation confirmed this suspicion, according to the FBI.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice issued on Monday, Hanssen was found unresponsive at the U.S. Penitentiary Florence ADMAX this week. The facility is in Florence. The FBI was notified and Hanssen was 79 at the time of his passing. He had been at the Florence facility since July 17, 2002.