Spy: The Inside Story of How The FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America

Spy: The Inside Story of How The FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America

by David Wise


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Spy: The Inside Story of How The FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America by David Wise

Spy tells, for the first time, the full, authoritative story of how FBI agent Robert Hanssen, code name grayday, spied for Russia for twenty-two years in what has been called the “worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history”–and how he was finally caught in an incredible gambit by U.S. intelligence.

David Wise, the nation’s leading espionage writer, has called on his unique knowledge and unrivaled intelligence sources to write the definitive, inside story of how Robert Hanssen betrayed his country, and why.

Spy at last reveals the mind and motives of a man who was a walking paradox: FBI counterspy, KGB mole, devout Catholic, obsessed pornographer who secretly televised himself and his wife having sex so that his best friend could watch, defender of family values, fantasy James Bond who took a stripper to Hong Kong and carried a machine gun in his car trunk.

Brimming with startling new details sure to make headlines, Spy discloses:

• the previously untold story of how the FBI got the actual file on Robert Hanssen out of KGB headquarters in Moscow for $7 million in an unprecedented operation that ended in Hanssen’s arrest.

• how for three years, the FBI pursued a CIA officer, code name gray deceiver, in the mistaken belief that he was the mole they were seeking inside U.S. intelligence. The innocent officer was accused as a spy and suspended by the CIA for nearly two years.

• why Hanssen spied, based on exclusive interviews with Dr. David L. Charney, the psychiatrist who met with Hanssen in his jail cell more than thirty times. Hanssen, in an extraordinary arrangement, authorized Charney to talk to the author.

• the full story of Robert Hanssen’s bizarre sex life, including the hidden video camera he set up in his bedroom and how he plotted to drug his wife, Bonnie, so that his best friend could father her child.

• how Hanssen and the CIA’s Aldrich Ames betrayed three Russians secretly spying for the FBI–including tophat, a Soviet general–who were then executed by Moscow.

• that after Hanssen was already working for the KGB, he directed a study of moles in the FBI when–as he alone knew–he was the mole.

Robert Hanssen betrayed the FBI. He betrayed his country. He betrayed his wife. He betrayed his children. He betrayed his best friend, offering him up to the KGB. He betrayed his God. Most of all, he betrayed himself. Only David Wise could tell the astonishing, full story, and he does so, in masterly style, in Spy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375758942
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/14/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 239,435
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Wise was America's leading writer on intelligence and espionage. He was the coauthor of The Invisible Government, a #1 bestseller about the CIA. He was also the author of Nightmover, Molehunt, The Spy Who Got Away, The American Police State, The Politics of Lying, Cassidy’s Run, Spy, and Tiger Trap, and the coauthor, with Thomas B. Ross, of The Espionage Establishment and The U-2 Affair. A native New Yorker and graduate of Columbia College, he was the former chief of the Washington bureau of the New York Herald-Tribune and contributed articles on government and politics to many national magazines. David Wise died in 2018.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Mole Hunter


Inside the Soviet counterintelligence section at FBI headquarters in Washington, there could be no other word for what had happened: the two KGB agents who were the bureau's highly secret sources inside the Soviet embassy in Washington had somehow been discovered. Valery Martynov and Sergei Motorin had been lured back to Moscow and executed. Each was killed with a bullet in the head, the preferred method used by the KGB to dispatch traitors.

There would be no more visits to the candy store by the FBI counterintelligence agents; M&M, as the two KGB men were informally if irreverently known inside FBI headquarters, were gone, two more secret casualties of the Cold War. The year was 1986. The FBI quickly created a six-person team to try to determine what had gone wrong.

Meanwhile, the CIA, across the Potomac in Langley, Virginia, was having its own troubles. It was losing dozens of agents inside the Soviet Union, some executed, others thrown into prison. The agency formed a mole hunt group.

Two years later, in 1988, the FBI still had no answer to how Martynov, whom the bureau had given the code name pimenta, and Motorin, code name megas, had been lost. Something more had to be done, and the FBI now began thinking the unthinkable. As painful, even heretical, as it might be to consider, perhaps there was a traitor-a Russian spy-inside the FBI itself.

To find out the truth was the job of the bureau's intelligence division, which was in charge of arresting spies, penetrating foreign espionage services, and, when possible, recruiting their agents to work for the FBI. The division was divided into sections, one of which, CI-3 (the CI stood for counterintelligence), housed the Soviet analytical unit, the research arm of the bureau's spycatchers. Perhaps, the division's chiefs reasoned, something might be learned if the analysts, looking back to the beginning of the Cold War, carefully studied every report gleaned from a recruitment or a defector that hinted at possible penetrations of the FBI by Soviet intelligence. Perhaps a pattern could be seen that might point to a current penetration, if one existed.

Within the Soviet unit, two experienced analysts, Bob King and Jim Milburn, were assigned to read the debriefings of Soviet defectors and reports of Soviet intelligence sources who had, over the years, been recruited as spies by the FBI. The two shared a cubicle in Room 4835 with their supervisor.

The supervisor, a tall, forty-four-year-old, somewhat dour man, was not a popular figure among his fellow special agents, although he was respected for his wizardry with computers. He had been born in Chicago, served for a while as a police officer in that city, and joined the FBI twelve years before, in 1976. Now he was responsible for preparing and overseeing the mole study.

For the supervisor, directing the analysis to help pinpoint a possible mole inside the FBI was a task of exquisite irony. For he knew who had turned over the names of Valery Martynov and Sergei Motorin to the KGB. He knew there was in fact an active mole inside the FBI, passing the bureau's most highly classified secrets to Moscow. He knew the spy was a trusted counterintelligence agent at headquarters. He knew, in fact, that the spy was a supervisory special agent inside the Soviet analytical unit. He knew all this but could tell no one. And for good reason.

Robert Hanssen was looking for himself.

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Spy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
sharpshooter21 More than 1 year ago
Good book that at times was tough to put down. It appears to have been very well researched; I'm not sure who the author could have additionally interviewed that would had added anything to the book. I was very impressed with the interviews and comments from Russians, as those must have taken quite the effort to secure. Very good, detailed account of the entire life of Hanssen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this true story to be as absorbing as any work of crime fiction. A thorough and informative look at the enigma of Robert Hanssen. The glaring contradictions in Hanssen's life truly astound the reader. The harm he did to the country is shocking, but the pain and humiliation he inflicted on his family are inestimable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lived near the drop off spot that Robert Hanssen used and wanted to know just how much damage he had done to the US Government. This book not only gives you information on the extent of the damage to the government but also background information of Hanssen's life at home and previous missions conducted. It shows just how smart Hanssen was at not being detected by the government. Great story and a worthwhile read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing from start to finish. Better than the movie! This book kept me on my toes for days and the ending is perfect and all true!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fascinating... full of facts, not opinions... very clear and concise... and probably the best book to get into the mind of this spy... as much as is possible. It made you want to keep reading... almost read like a novel in the way it was written. One of my favorites for sure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Mr. Wise delves deep into the archives and questions many people at length to get the amount of information presented here. This is no joke of a book. The writing is superb and the author had all the information to back it up. This book shows what sets an amateur writer/researcher apart from a great one. The abundance of information (which he claims to have partly gathered from 350 interviews from 150 people) is very accurate. He also writes in a style that keeps the reader interested which he achieves by jumping from one interesting anecdote of Hanssen's life to the next. This is one of the better (and more thrilling) spy books I have read. The amateur should be encouraged as Wise writes in a straightforward manner and usually explains any questions that the reader might have.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had watched the television movie about Robert Hanssen and wanted to know more about this story, so I looked for a book. This one seemed to have good reviews, but my impression is it is little more than a chronology: Bob sold this information to the Russians and got this much money. Then he changed jobs and sold some more information for another sum of money, etc. The last few chapters were the best an providing some insights into this troubled man and his escapades. The movie was far more interesting.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
David Wise write a splendid book about a man whose soul is poisoned for eternity. Having the book in my apartment for more than four days gave me goosebumps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a well written book that goes into detail about the atrocities commited by Hanssen, this book will not dissappoint. Most importantly it is highly entertaining and reads like a novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book I read on R.Hanssen. the best part about it is that it is based on proven facts and not personal opinions. The book gives just enough history and background information on other key players (except Hanssen) to keep the reader from being confused. Excellent book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and informative really keeps you reading.,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everything that Robert Hansen did in life was just a cover up everything he did was just like chameleon. He did not have a very good self worth of himself as a person. He was always trying to please everyone else but himself. Now look back at what he made a mess in his life for being a spying for the Russians and he only received around $750,000 million dollars and he now gets to spend the rest of his life in prison for espionage. All he needed to do was just look at what he was making and how many years would he spend behind bars and he would of received his answer. Lets take a look at what might of been making as FBI agent $60,000 a year then he spends 30 years in prison and would have made from the FBI 1,800,000 million dollars. Was it worth the pain that Robert put all of his close friends through this ordeal? He just did not hurt himself but everybody around him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the critics have noted, Wise probably has written the best book to date on the Hanssen case. Nevertheless, even with his sources (Current and former FBI agents involved in the investigation who have prostituted themselves out to the media in order to make their role in the investigation seem more significant and noble) Wise's effort still falls way short of being accurate. Someday the whole truth may be told, but not in this forum. Until then, kudo's to the FBI agents whose integrity and committment to the National Security of this country outshine the need to see their name in print.