1 of 3 | Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who sold U.S. secrets for $1.4 million to the Soviet Union and later Russia, was found dead Monday in his Colorado prison cell, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Photo courtesy of the FBI
June 5 (UPI) -- Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who sold U.S. secrets for $1.4 million to the Soviet Union and later Russia, was found dead Monday in his Colorado prison cell, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
"At approximately 6:55 a.m., inmate Robert Hanssen was found unresponsive at the United States Penitentiary Florence ADMAX in Florence, Colorado," a release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.
"Responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures. Staff requested emergency medical services and life-saving efforts continued," the release added. "Mr. Hanssen was subsequently pronounced deceased by EMS personnel."
As of Monday afternoon, the Bureau of Prisons had not released a cause of death.
Hanssen, 79, had been serving a life sentence at the prison known as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies" since July 17, 2002, after pleading guilty to 15 counts of espionage and conspiracy to avoid the death penalty.
Hanssen was an FBI agent for more than two decades and began spying for the Soviets in 1979, about three years after he joined the bureau. Before his arrest, he was a counterintelligence specialist with the bureau's National Security Division, which gave him access to information from the National Security Agency and the State Department.
He was arrested in February 2001 near his Virginia home while conducting a "dead drop" for his Russian handlers. FBI agents found the package containing highly classified information and a separate package containing $50,000 cash.
According to the federal indictment, Hanssen gave the Soviets and Russians documents "which directly concerned satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against a large-scale attack, communications intelligence and major elements of defense strategy."
The indictment said Hanssen also gave Russia the identities of "individuals acting as agents of the United States (in Russia)," which resulted in the executions of two of them, including Soviet Gen. Dmitri Polyakov.
While Hanssen stopped spying for several years after his wife confronted him, he resumed spying in 1985 using the alias "Ramon Garcia" in exchange for cash, diamonds and foreign bank deposits.
"I apologize for my behavior. I am shamed by it. Beyond its illegality, I have torn the trust of so many," Hanssen said during his sentencing in 2002.
"Worse, I have opened the door for calumny against my totally innocent wife and our children. I hurt them deeply. I have hurt so many deeply."