Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc. - Pub. Date: December 2001
Excerpt: pages 239-245
The Betrayals of a Spy
Robert Philip Hanssen was a traitor of unparalleled dimension. His access to national security and intelligence secrets was broad and deep, and his betrayal of those secrets was far-reaching, given his computer expertise and access to secret FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, National Security Council, and Pentagon documents. Aided by the efforts of federal agencies to share more information with one another, Hanssen obtained an extraordinary array of classified materials. Several counterintelligence experts, including former FBI and CIA director William Webster, have equated Hanssen's treachery with a "five-hundred-year flood." He compromised thousands of pages of intelligence sources and methods; cryptology' communications and technical surveillance programs; counterintelligence operations and military, logistical, and political strategy for surviving a nuclear attack.
In the world of espionage, there is an acronym MICE - that helps to explain why Hanssen and others spy. MICE stands for Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego. In Hanssen's case, ego was considered the most important factor, though money also played a contributing role.
Nearly everything that Hanssen passed along to the Soviets and Russians during his espionage career was "classified." The classification system used by the U.S. intelligence community is based on the damage that would ensue if information were compromised. Data that would cause "serious" damage is classified SECRET, and information that would cause "exceptionally grave" damage is TOP SECRET. Highly sensitive information at any level may be further restricted as SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION, OR SCI. Access to material bearing an SCI designation requires specific additional security clearances. Hansen held TOP SECRET clearance from his first day at the FBI in 1976. He received his initial SCI clearance in June 1980, roughly one year after his first counterintelligence assignment, and would be cleared for at least five more SCI programs over the course of his FBI employment.
According to court documents and interviews, while working as a double agent for the GRU, the KGB, and its successor intelligence services in Russia, Robert Philip Hanssen:
This crown jewel of U.S. national security was an important element of the 'mutually assured destruction" (MAD) theory, in which both the United States and the Soviet Union refrain from using nuclear weapons because a retaliatory strike would prove as deadly as a first strike. However, with knowledge of the U.S. continuity program, the Soviets believed they could win a nuclear war and began to devise an offensive nuclear strategy.
Between 1985 and 2001, Robert Hanssen also:
divulged how the United States planned to conduct surveillance of a Soviet intelligence officer