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US: Robert Hansen, Former Kremlin Spy at FBI, Dies at 79 in Prison

THE double agent Robert Hansen died on Monday at the age of 79 in the prison where he had been held since 2002, the US Prison Service announced.

A counterintelligence officer in the federal police, he began working for the Soviets during the Cold War and handed over some of America’s best-kept secrets to Moscow in the 1980s and 1990s for $1.4 million and of diamonds.

Robert Hansen was “the most damaging spy in history F.B.I,” according to the federal police website.

He was found unconscious yesterday morning in his cell at the maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, where he was serving a life sentence. Efforts by staff to bring him back were futile, according to the prison service.

Robert Hansen, a former police officer in Chicago, joined the FBI in 1976. A few years later, he joined counterintelligence in New York, tasked with tracking down Russian spies on American soil and recruiting Soviet diplomats to the United Nations.

Taking advantage of this key position, he offered his help to the intelligence services of the USSR, in complete discretion, using the pseudonym “Ramon Garcia”, without his handlers knowing his identity.

From his posts in New York, then in Washington, he handed over some 6,000 pages of documents, including military plans, counter-spyware information and names of double agents working for the US, first to the Soviets and then to the Russians.

Although the FBI was aware of the fact that it had moles – in intelligence parlance – in its ranks, Robert Hansen remained for years above all suspicion. Married, the father of six children, he lived without attracting attention, always maintaining close relations with the Catholic elite of the capital.

But he was surrendered in 2000 by a Russian defector. After being put under surveillance, he was finally arrested in 2001 while preparing to drop off classified documents intended for Russian agents at a park in Virginia.

He avoided the death penalty by agreeing to cooperate with investigators. After admitting that he acted motivated by profit, he was interrogated for some 200 hours. In 2002, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Source: News Beast

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