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FBI Agent accused of espionage
The FBI was rocked last week with extensive allegations of in-house betrayal. Robert P. Hanssen, a 25 year bureau veteran, was arrested on charges of espionage on behalf of Russia.
The illegal activity has reportedly taken place over the past 15 years, with Hanssen receiving approximately $1.4 million in cash and diamonds in exchange for counterintelligence activities against the United States.
Hanssen was apprehended February18, as he attempted to pass along a garbage bag full of classified U.S. intelligence documents on a bridge near his Virginia home.
While the complete extent of damage done by Hanssen remains unknown, his activities are directly linked to the deaths of two Russian officers covertly working for the United States.
The FBI has boasted about its quiet, efficient handling of the matter, but many insiders are outraged about how such an extended period of criminal activity could go undetected by the very agency that is supposed to be eliminating anti-American activity.
In recent years, Congress, the Justice Department, and a variety of other independent agencies have urged the FBI to strengthen its security by employing polygraph testing, requiring greater agent financial disclosure and more observing the distribution of classified materials.
FBI Director Louis Freeh, has repeatedly stated that the conceivable inaccuracies of polygraph testing can only create greater injustices
The FBI has engaged in a large deal of finger pointing at the CIA and other agencies in the past. While the honor and esteem of the FBI is one of it’s most sacred and profound assets, it must crack down on security in the wake of the Hanssen incident.
In the history of the Bureau, Hanssen is only the third agent accused of espionage, but even one is cause for massive change. The FBI must prioritize national safety over reputation and outdated honor code systems in this increasingly dangerous international environment.