Robert Hanssen | Federal Bureau of Investigation (2023)

On January 12, 1976, Robert Philip Hanssen swore an oath to enforce the law and protect the nation as a newly minted FBI special agent. Instead, he ultimately became the most damaging spy in Bureau history.

On February 18, 2001, Hanssen was arrested and charged with committing espionage on behalf of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Hanssen—using the alias “Ramon Garcia” with his Russian handlers—had provided highly classified national security information to the Russians in exchange for more than $1.4 million in cash, bank funds, and diamonds.

Hanssen’s espionage activities began in 1985. 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.

Because of his experience and training as a counterintelligence agent, Hanssen went undetected for years, although some of his unusual activities had aroused suspicion from time to time. Still, he was not identified as a spy.

In the 1990s, after the arrest of Aldrich Ames, the FBI and CIA realized that a mole within the intelligence community was still sharing classified information with the Russians. The agencies initially focused primarily—and incorrectly—on a veteran CIA case officer, who was investigated for nearly two years.

A turning point came in 2000, when the FBI and CIA were able to secure original Russian documentation of an American spy who appeared to be Hanssen. The ensuing investigation confirmed this suspicion.

Hanssen was set to retire, so investigators had to move fast. Their goal was to catch Hanssen “red handed” in espionage.

“What we wanted to do was get enough evidence to convict him, and the ultimate aim was to catch him in the act,” said Debra Evans Smith, a former deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division.

Hanssen was serving as a detailee to the Office of Foreign Missions at the Department of State at the time suspicions around him arose. FBI leadership decided Hanssen needed to be removed from his temporary position and brought back to FBI Headquarters. Special Agent Don Sullivan, a squad supervisor at the FBI’s Washington Field Office at the time, volunteered to replace Hanssen.

Before Hanssen left the position, Sullivan went to learn his new role at the Department of State. He was also tasked with observing and learning as much as he could about Hanssen’s information technology setup in his office and with keeping an eye out on who Hanssen was meeting and talking with.

In his office, Hanssen had full access to the FBI’s Automated Case Support (ACS) system and the State Department’s computer systems. Sullivan noted that Hanssen spent a lot of time trolling ACS for information.

“He had opportunity. He could sit in his office and shut the door. It was not a very demanding job,” said Sullivan.

To get Hanssen back to FBI Headquarters where he could be closely monitored, Neil Gallagher, assistant director of the National Security Division at the time, called Hanssen to inform him of a bogus assignment to serve on his staff as a special assistant for a technology project. Gallagher also told Hanssen that then-Director Louis Freeh had approved a two-year extension on his service and a promotion to the Senior Executive Service.

In January 2001, Hanssen moved into a small office in FBI Headquarters secretly outfitted with surveillance cameras and microphones. His assistant, Eric O’Neill, was tasked with keeping investigators apprised of Hanssen’s movements.

By February 2001, about 300 personnel were working the investigation and monitoring Hanssen. Hanssen was tracked from the time he left his house in Fairfax County, Virginia, to the time he got home at night, and it was confirmed that he was still an active spy.

Investigators learned that Hanssen was set to make a dead drop on February 18, 2001. An FBI arrest team moved into position at Foxstone Park, a location where Hanssen had been spotted before by FBI surveillance. Hanssen parked on a residential street and walked down a wooded path to a footbridge with the classified materials wrapped in a plastic bag. As Hanssen walked back to his car, the arrest team rushed up and took him into custody.

Hanssen pled guilty to 15 counts of espionage on July 6, 2001. On May 10, 2002, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Hanssen took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same,” but he decided to violate that oath. The FBI trusted him with some of the most sensitive secrets of the U.S. government, and instead of upholding that trust, he abused and betrayed it.

For more information:
- Press Release - Veteran FBI Agent Arrested and Charged with Espionage
- Affidavit
- Statement ofFBI Director Louis J. Freeh on the Arrestof FBI Special Agent Robert Philip Hanssen (see below)

(Video) The FBI Agent Who Became Russia's Most Valuable Spy, Robert Hanssen


Robert Hanssen

Hanssen's Business Cards

“Ellis” Drop Site: Under a footbridge over Wolftrap Creek near Creek Crossing Road at Foxstone Park near Vienna, Virginia

“Lewis” Signal Site:Wooden utility pole located at the North-West corner of the intersection of 3rd Street and Carlin Springs Road near the metrobus stop

“Lewis” Drop Site: Package recovered at the Lewis drop site containing $50,000 cash left by Russians for Hanssen

(Video) The FBI Agent Who Became a Double Agent & Spied for Russia: Investigation of Robert Hanssen

“Ellis” Drop Site:Package dropped by Hanssen at the Ellis drop site on February 18, 2001

Statement of FBI Director Louis J. Freeh On the Arrestof FBI Special Agent Robert Philip Hanssen

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2001
Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office

Sunday night the FBI arrested Robert Philip Hanssen who has been charged with committing espionage. Hanssen is a Special Agent of the FBI with a long career in counterintelligence.

The investigation that led to these charges is the direct result of the longstanding FBI/CIA efforts, ongoing since the Aldrich Ames case, to identify additional foreign penetrations of the United States Intelligence Community. The investigation of Hanssen was conducted by the FBI in partnership with the CIA, the Department of State, and, of course, the Justice Department.

(Video) Robert Hanssen: The FBI Mole who Spied for the KGB

The complaint alleges that Hanssen conspired to and did commit espionage for Russia and the former Soviet Union. The actions alleged date back as far as 1985 and, with the possible exception of several years in the 1990s, continued until his arrest on Sunday. He was arrested while in the process of using a “dead drop” to clandestinely provide numerous classified documents to his Russian handler.

It is alleged that Hanssen provided to the former Soviet Union and subsequently to Russia substantial volumes of highly classified information that he acquired during the course of his job responsibilities in counterintelligence. In return, he received large sums of money and other remuneration. The complaint alleges that he received over $600,000.

The full extent of the damage done is yet unknown because no accurate damage assessment could be conducted without jeopardizing the investigation. We believe it was exceptionally grave.

The criminal conduct alleged represents the most traitorous actions imaginable against a country governed by the Rule of Law. As difficult as this moment is for the FBI and for the country, I am immensely proud of the men and women who conducted this investigation. Their actions represent counterintelligence at its very best and under the most difficult and sensitive of circumstances. Literally, Hanssen’s colleagues and coworkers at the FBI conducted this investigation and did so quietly, securely and without hesitation. Much of what these men and women did remains undisclosed but their success and that of their CIA counterparts represents unparalleled expertise and dedication to both principle and mission.

The complaint alleges that Hanssen, using the code name “Ramon,” engaged in espionage by providing highly classified information to the KGB and its successor agency, the SVR, using encrypted communications, dead drops, and other clandestine techniques. The information he is alleged to have provided compromised numerous human sources, technical operations, counterintelligence techniques, sources and methods, and investigations, including the Felix Bloch investigation.

The affidavit alleges that Hanssen voluntarily became an agent of the KGB in 1985 while assigned to the intelligence division at the FBI field office in New York City as supervisor of a foreign counterintelligence squad. Hanssen allegedly began spying for the Soviets in 1985 when, in his first letter to the KGB, he volunteered information that compromised several sensitive techniques. He also independently disclosed the identity of two KGB officials who, first compromised by Aldrich Ames, had been recruited by the U.S. Government to serve as “agents in place” at the Soviet Embassy in Washington. When these two KGB officials returned to Moscow, they were tried and convicted on espionage charges and executed.

Hanssen subsequently was assigned to a variety of national security posts that legitimately provided him access to classified information relating to the former Soviet Union and Russia. As a result of these assignments within the FBI, Hanssen gained access to some of the most sensitive and highly classified information in the United States Government. To be very clear on this issue, at no time was he authorized to communicate information to agents of the KGB/SVR. Nor can there be any doubt that he was keenly aware of the gravity of his traitorous actions. He later wrote to his KGB handler, speaking about the severity with which U.S. laws punishes his alleged actions, and acknowledging “...I know far better than most what minefields are laid and the risks.”

Hanssen was detailed to the Office of Foreign Missions at the Department of State from 1995 to 2000. The complaint, however, does not allege any compromises by him at the State Department. In one letter to his Russian handlers, Hanssen complains about lost opportunities to alert them that the FBI had discovered the microphone hidden at the State Department, known then by the FBI but apparently not by Hanssen as being monitored by a Russian intelligence officer. In this assignment, however, Hanssen did continue to have access to sensitive FBI information as he remained assigned to the FBI’s National Security Division and routinely dealt with sensitive and classified matters.

For many years, the CIA and FBI have been aggressively engaged in a sustained analytical effort to identify foreign penetrations of the Intelligence Community. That effort is complemented by substantial FBI proactive investigation of foreign service intelligence officers here and by the critical work done by the CIA. Because of these coordinated efforts, the FBI was able to secure original Russian documentation of an American spy who appeared to the FBI to be Hanssen — a premise that was soon to be confirmed when Hanssen was identified by the FBI as having clandestinely communicated with Russian intelligence officers.

(Video) Inside the Robert Hanssen Investigation with Debra Smith

As alleged in the complaint, computer forensic analysis, substantial covert surveillance, court authorized searches and other sensitive techniques revealed that Hanssen has routinely accessed FBI records and clandestinely provided those records and other classified information to Russian intelligence officers. As alleged, he did so using a variety of sophisticated means of communication, encryption, and dead drops.

Further, the complaint alleges that Hanssen, using his training and experience to protect himself from discovery by the FBI, never met face-to-face with his Russian handlers, never revealed to them his true identity or where he worked, constantly checked FBI records for signs he and the drop sites he was using were being investigated, refused any foreign travel to meet with the Russians, and even declined to accept any “trade craft.” Hanssen never displayed outward signs that he was receiving large amounts of unexplained cash. He was, after all, a trained counterintelligence specialist. For these reasons, the FBI learned of his true identity before the Russians; they are learning of it only now. Even without knowing who he was or where he worked, Hanssen’s value to the Russians was clear both by the substantial sums of money paid and the prestigious awards given to their own agents for Hanssen’s operation.

While this arrest represents a counterintelligence investigative success, the complaint alleges that Hanssen located and removed undetected from the FBI substantial quantities of information that he was able to access as a result of his assignments. None of the internal information or personnel security measures in place alerted those charged with internal security to his activities. In short, the trusted insider betrayed his trust without detection.

While the risk that an employee of the United States Government will betray his country can never be eliminated, there must be more that the FBI can do to protect itself from such an occurrence. I have asked Judge William H. Webster, and he has graciously agreed, to examine thoroughly the internal security functions and procedures of the FBI and recommend improvements. Judge Webster is uniquely qualified as a former FBI Director, CIA Director and Director of Central Intelligence to undertake this review. This is particularly timely as we move to the next generation of automation to support the FBI’s information infrastructure. Judge Webster and anyone he selects to assist him will have complete access and whatever resources are necessary to complete this task. He will report directly to the Attorney General and me and we will share his report with the National Security Council and Congress. I intend to act swiftly on his recommendations.

Before concluding, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet for the cooperation and assistance of his agency in this investigation. Through our cooperative efforts, the FBI and CIA were able to learn the true identity of “Ramon” and the FBI was able to conduct a solid investigation. Our joint efforts over the last several years and specifically in this case should give pause to those contemplating betrayal of the Nation’s trust. Without the current unprecedented level of trust and cooperation between the CIA and FBI, making this case would not have been possible. Nor would many other intelligence and counterintelligence accomplishments that routinely but quietly contribute to the security of this Nation.

Through Attorney General John Ashcroft, I would like to thank the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. The level of support and expertise from Acting Deputy Attorney General Robert Mueller, Counsel for Intelligence Policy Frances Fragos Townsend, U.S. Attorney Helen Fahey and Assistant United States Attorney Randy Bellows is superb. We particularly appreciate the unhesitating leadership and support of Attorney General Ashcroft from the moment he took office.

Director Tenet and I have briefed the intelligence committees of Congress because of the clear national security implications.

As Director of the FBI, I am proud of the courageous men and women of the FBI who each day make enormous sacrifices in serving their country. They have committed their lives to public service and to upholding the high standards of the FBI. Since becoming Director over seven years ago, I have administered the FBI oath to each graduating class of Special Agents at the FBI Academy. Each time, I share the pride and sanctity of those words when new agents swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Regrettably, I stand here today both saddened and outraged. An FBI Agent who raised his right hand and spoke those words over 25 years ago has been charged today with violating that oath in the most egregious and reprehensible manner imaginable. The FBI entrusted him with some of the most sensitive secrets of the United States Government and instead of being humbled by this honor, Hanssen has allegedly abused and betrayed that trust. The crimes alleged are an affront not only to his fellow FBI employees but to the American people, not to mention the pain and suffering he has brought upon his family. Our hearts go out to them. I take solace and satisfaction, however, that the FBI succeeded in this investigation. As an agency, we lived up to our responsibility, regardless of how painful it might be.

(Video) Witness To History: The Investigation of Robert Hanssen


How did the FBI find out about Robert Hanssen? ›

After Ames's arrest in 1994, some of these intelligence breaches still remained unsolved. The FBI paid $7 million to a KGB agent to obtain a file on an anonymous mole, whom the FBI later identified as Hanssen through fingerprint and voice analysis.

How much did the Russians pay Robert Hanssen? ›

He received over $1.4 million in assets from Russia, including $800,000 that was deposited into a Russian bank, two Rolex watches and approximately $600,000 in the form of diamonds and cash. Hanssen was the third agent in FBI history to be charged with espionage.

Is the movie breach accurate? ›

The movie fictionalized much of Eric M. O'Neill's story. Among the changes made for the film: The real O'Neill knew going in that Robert Hanssen was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. There was no cover story about sexual perversions, and no dramatic meeting where O'Neill learned the truth.

Where is Bernadette Hanssen today? ›

Today, Mrs. Hanssen is teaching at a Catholic school in suburban Virginia and is living in the house she shared with her husband and their six children. Under Mr. Hanssen's plea bargain, she will receive the survivor's part of his bureau pension, as well as the right to keep the home.

Who was the most damaging spy in US history? ›

On January 12, 1976, Robert Philip Hanssen swore an oath to enforce the law and protect the nation as a newly minted FBI special agent. Instead, he ultimately became the most damaging spy in Bureau history.

Who is the most famous FBI agent? ›

J. Edgar Hoover. J. Edgar Hoover, the first and most controversial FBI Director, was also arguably the most influential of them all.

Who is the most famous Soviet spy? ›

Oleg Gordievsky
Oleg Gordievsky CMG
Espionage activity
AllegianceSoviet Union (British secret agent since 1974) United Kingdom
Service branchKGB SIS/MI6
RankColonel of the KGB
12 more rows

Who was the best spy in the Cold War? ›

Double agent Dmitri Polyakov was one of the Cold War's greatest spies—and likely the most damaging mole in the history of Soviet intelligence. Double agent Dmitri Polyakov was one of the Cold War's greatest spies—and likely the most damaging mole in the history of Soviet intelligence.

Who gave Russia the atomic bomb? ›

Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs (29 December 1911 – 28 January 1988) was a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who supplied information from the American, British and Canadian Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union during and shortly after World War II.

What is the creature in Breach? ›

However, by the end of the film, the real villain turns out to be a giant monster -- the parasite's avatar, and by the way it moves and operates, not to mention the look of it, it's clear this creature has been influenced by Stranger Things.

What is the biggest data breach of all time? ›

Data breached: 3 billion user accounts

According to data breach statistics, the largest data breach in history is the one that Yahoo! suffered for several years. Not only is it the biggest breach according to the number of affected users, but it also feels like the most massive one because of all the headlines.

Is Breach a sequel? ›

Breach 2 is a science fiction strategy video game developed by Omnitrend Software in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS. It is the sequel to the 1987 game Breach, and was itself followed by Breach 3 in 1995.

Is espionage a spying? ›

Espionage is the crime of spying or secretly watching a person, company, government, etc. for the purpose of gathering secret information or detecting wrongdoing, and to transfer such information to another organization or state.

Who is John Hanssen? ›

John Hanssen is the son of the late Willis “John” Hanssen and Sharon (Sanders) Hanssen. Hanssen, 51, is a longtime Hall County Historical Society board member. He is a graduate of Northwest High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He works at the Green Plains ethanol plant in Central City.

What happened to Aldrich Ames? ›

He had spied for the Russians for nearly a decade. Aldrich Ames and his wife both pled guilty on April 28, 1994. Aldrich Ames was sentenced to incarceration for life without the possibility of parole. Rosario Ames was sentenced on October 20, 1994 to 63 months in prison.

Who is the most famous female spy? ›

MATA HARI. Mata Hari embodied all the intrigue of espionage and remains the most famous female spy in history. The dancer turned WWI spy is said to have seduced diplomats and military officers into giving up their secrets.

Who is the best spies in the world? ›

8 of the Most Notorious Spies in History
  • Sir Francis Walsingham (1532-1590) ...
  • Belle Boyd (1844-1900) ...
  • Mata Hari (1876-1917) ...
  • Fritz Joubert Duquesne (1877-1956) ...
  • Lise de Baissac (1905-2004) ...
  • Dušan Popov (1912-1981) ...
  • Anthony Blunt (1907-1983) ...
  • Aldrich Ames (1941-present)
22 Sept 2021

What wife of a US president was accused of being a spy? ›

Mata Hari
SpouseRudolf John MacLeod ​ ​ ( m. 1895; div. 1906)​
Parent(s)Adam Zelle (father) Antje van der Meulen (mother)
Espionage activity
12 more rows

Can you have tattoos in the FBI? ›

Kellie: Yeah, they are allowed. Now I would suggest that if you're looking to get a tattoo, be very judicious in where you place it, just because the image of the Academy in the FBI is extremely important. So just be judicious in your placement of your tattoo.

Who is the youngest FBI agent ever? ›

Richard Wershe Jr.

Born: July 18, 1969, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. What is this? Richard Wershe Jr. is the youngest FBI agent to date. Wershe became an FBI informant by chance when he was just 14 years.

Are there female FBI agents? ›

Slide: Today, they are known as trailblazers, the FBI's first female special agents. Slide: On July 17, 1972, they began training to be special agents. Slide: They returned in July 2022, along with other female agent pioneers, to commemorate the milestone.

What is the spy capital of the world? ›

City of spies: how Berlin became the espionage capital of the world.

Are there Russian spies in the United States? ›

Russian espionage in the United States has occurred since at least the Cold War (as the Soviet Union), and likely well before. According to the United States government, by 2007 it had reached Cold War levels.

Who was the greatest spy in ww2? ›

The Normandy Landings of 6 June 1944 marked the beginning of the liberation of occupied Western Europe. The Security Service made a significant contribution to the success of D-Day through its double agent Juan Pujol, codenamed GARBO, who has been described as the greatest double agent of the Second World War.

Who was the 1st spy? ›

1. Nathan Hale. Often dubbed “America's first spy,” Nathan Hale was a Yale graduate who served in Knowlton's Rangers, a short-lived Continental reconnaissance unit.

Are spies still a thing? ›

Today, spy agencies target the illegal drug trade and terrorists as well as state actors.

Why is MI5 called spooks? ›

The title is a popular colloquialism for spies, and the series follows the work of a group of MI5 officers based at the service's Thames House headquarters, in a highly secure suite of offices known as The Grid. It is notable for various stylistic touches, and its use of popular guest actors.

When did Russia almost nuked America? ›

On 26 September 1983, during the Cold War, the nuclear early-warning radar of the Soviet Union reported the launch of one intercontinental ballistic missile with four more missiles behind it, from bases in the United States.

Which country has highest weapons? ›

Statista puts Russia's arsenal at 5,997 nuclear warheads as of January 2022 and the U.S. with 5,428 nuclear warheads. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Russia has a stockpile of around 4,477 weapons in its nuclear arsenal. In comparison, the U.S. has around 3,708 warheads.

How did China get nuclear weapons? ›

In 1951, China signed a secret agreement with Moscow through which China provided uranium ores in exchange for Soviet assistance in nuclear technology. China began developing nuclear weapons in the late 1950s with substantial Soviet assistance.

Is breach a villain? ›

Overview. In her debut, She is the Major Antagonist from Cartoon Networks until Season 1 Episode 7. In Season 1 Episode 8, She is the Villainous Extra Protagonist of Her in Synopsis where She can be found and arrested by Dr.

What happens at the end of breach? ›

Clay sets the Ark to self-destruct as Noah escapes with Hayley. Noah and Hayley reach New Earth, but as they emerge from the escape pod Noah spots another human who turns out to be infected, and in the distance a huge monster is attacked by a jet fighter. As the film ends Noah raises his gun and utters "Burn 'em all".

Can breach blind his teammates? ›

Although Breach is an initiator, he can act on his own flashes. He can blind himself and teammates, though, so it's essential to understand the timing of his flash.

Who hacked the most? ›

Possibly the most well-known hacker of all time is Kevin Mitnick. In fact, the Department of Justice called him the "most wanted computer criminal in US history." He was also one of the FBI's Most Wanted after hacking into 40 major corporations.

What websites get hacked the most? ›

  • WordPress websites are a top target for hackers because of their massive user base. ...
  • On average 30,000 new websites are hacked every day.
  • A study made in 2003 (remember, it's 2022 right now and numbers have probably risen) found that there is an attack every 39 seconds on average on the web.
22 Feb 2021

Is Into the breach endless? ›

It's an endlessly replayable game, and the new Advanced Edition adds even more mechs, pilots, and challenges.

Why is Breach rated R? ›

MPAA explanation: violence, sexual content and language.

Who is the bunny at the end of Security Breach? ›

Vanny is a follower of the digital virus Glitchtrap, a form of the serial killer William Afton, who appears as the main antagonist of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach.

What are the 4 types of spies? ›

Local spies are hired from among the people of a locality. Inside spies are hired from among enemy officials. Reverse spies are hired from among enemy spies. Dead spies transmit false intelligence to enemy spies.

Can spies go to jail? ›

Spying for other countries or groups is in many cases illegal and punishable by law. The following is a list of individuals that have either been imprisoned for spying, or individuals that have been arrested in connection to their spying activities.

What are spies skills? ›

The key attributes of a good spy include strong critical thinking and communication skills, logical thinking skills, and a love of codebreaking puzzles.

Who was the CIA traitor? ›

Aldrich Ames
BornAldrich Hazen Ames May 26, 1941 River Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Chicago George Washington University (BA)
Criminal charge18 U.S.C. § 794(c) (Espionage Act)
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment (without parole)
10 more rows

What is Hanssen significance? ›

Robert Hanssen, in full Robert Philip Hanssen, (born April 18, 1944, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was one of the Soviet Union's and Russia's most valuable double agents and the most damaging spy ever to penetrate the FBI.

How many people did Aldrich Ames betray? ›

Officials now know that Ames divulged more than 100 covert operations and betrayed more than 30 operatives spying for the CIA and other Western intelligence services. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ames provided the Soviets with information about two highly sophisticated CIA operations in Russia.

Why did Aldrich Ames betray the US? ›

Ames told The Post that he was suffering pressing financial problems and needed money. So, he turned to the Soviets. In 1985, he gave them the names of two KGB officers who may have defected. The Soviets showed their gratitude with a payment of $50,000.

What happened to Hanssen? ›

As Hanssen walked back to his car, the arrest team rushed up and took him into custody. Hanssen pled guilty to 15 counts of espionage on July 6, 2001. On May 10, 2002, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

How did Aldrich Ames get caught? ›

FBI agents caught Ames on camera during a rendezvous with a Russian agent in Caracas. Wanting ideally to catch Ames in the act of dropping or receiving materials for his Russian handlers, the FBI postponed an arrest until February 21, 1994, when they felt they could not wait any longer.

When did Aldrich Ames get caught? ›

In the 1990s and into the new century, four major moles in the U.S. intelligence community who were still spying for Russia were arrested for espionage. The first of those moles to be caught was Aldrich Ames. Aldrich Hazen Ames was arrested by the FBI in Arlington, Virginia on espionage charges on February 21, 1994.

What documents revealed the names of Americans who spied for the Soviet Union? ›

The VENONA files are most famous for exposing Julius (code named LIBERAL) and Ethel Rosenberg and help give indisputable evidence of their involvement with the Soviet spy ring.

Why did Aldrich Ames betray? ›

Ames thought the divorce might bankrupt him, and later said that this financial pressure was what had first led him to consider spying for the Soviet Union.

Who is the most famous Russian spy? ›

Oleg Gordievsky
Oleg Gordievsky CMG
Espionage activity
AllegianceSoviet Union (British secret agent since 1974) United Kingdom
Service branchKGB SIS/MI6
RankColonel of the KGB
12 more rows

What did Klaus Fuchs do? ›

Fuchs was arrested in January 1950 and charged with violating the Official Secrets Act. He admitted to spying for the USSR and was convicted of espionage in March. Fuchs was sentenced to 14 years in prison, of which he served 9.

Who was the most famous union spy in the Civil War? ›

Some of the most famous Union spymasters included Allan Pinkerton, Lafayette Baker, and George H. Sharpe. Sarah Edmonds - Sarah Edmonds was a master of disguise even before she became a spy for the Union. She disguised herself as a man and entered the Union army.

What was the name of the FBI's biggest breakthrough which allowed it to decode Soviet messages about spies in the country? ›

The purpose of VENONA was to break the “unbreakable” Soviet code system and decipher intercepted Soviet communications. These intercepted communications dealt with both diplomatic and espionage matters transmitted between the various Soviet intelligence agencies during the Second World War and well into the Cold War.

Who gave atomic secrets to the Soviets? ›

Klaus Fuchs, the German-born physicist who was imprisoned in the 1950's in Britain after being convicted of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, died yesterday, the East German press agency A.D.N. reported. He was 76 years old.

Who was the most feared spy in ww2? ›

Learn how Virginia Hall, woman with a prosthetic leg, became the most feared allied spy in WWII. See how she eluded Nazi capture and aided in a victory at D-Day.


1. Turncoats & Traitors - The True Story of FBI Agent & Soviet Spy Robert Hanssen
(International Spy Museum)
2. Robert Hanssen Arrest - 20th Anniversary
(International Spy Museum)
3. This FBI Agent Sold Secrets to the KGB for Years
(Smithsonian Channel)
4. Former FBI operative discusses catching Russian double agent in new book
(CBS News)
5. Robert Hanssen: The FBI Agent Who Worked for the KGB
(Serial Killers Documentaries)
(AP Archive)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated: 03/07/2023

Views: 6001

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.