Washington Examiner

FBI agent who spied for Russia and caused the most damage found dead in jail.

Former FBI Agent Behind One of the Worst Intelligence Breaches Found Dead in Prison Cell

Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent behind one of the worst United States intelligence breaches in history, was found dead in his Colorado prison cell Monday.

Hanssen, 79, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 after he was caught selling highly classified information to the Russian government. He had sold U.S. secrets for over 20 years, initially to the Soviet Union, then to the Russian Federation after the former’s collapse.

On Monday, June 5, 2023, at approximately 6:55 am, inmate Robert Hanssen was found unresponsive at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) specifically, the ADX in Florence, Colorado,” a statement from Bureau of Prisons communications director Kristie Breshears said.

“Responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures. Staff requested emergency medical services and life-saving efforts continued. The inmate was subsequently pronounced dead by outside emergency medical personnel.”

The statement added that the public was not under threat at any time.

A Life of Espionage

Hanssen became an FBI officer in 1976 and started spying in 1985, according to the FBI. Over 15 years, Hanssen delivered information that “compromised numerous human sources, counterintelligence techniques, investigations, dozens of classified U.S. government documents, and technical operations of extraordinary importance and value.”

In 2000, U.S. intelligence intercepted a Russian document that confirmed the presence of a spy within their ranks. Hanssen was tracked by roughly 300 agents for several months to secure a case against him. He was arrested on Feb. 18, 2001, after being monitored while making a “dead drop” of intelligence materials to his Russian handlers.

He plead guilty to 15 counts of espionage in July and the following year was sentenced to life without parole.


The death of Robert Hanssen marks the end of a life of espionage and betrayal. His actions compromised the safety and security of the United States and its citizens. While his death may bring closure to some, it is a reminder of the importance of vigilance in protecting our nation’s secrets.

For more news and updates, visit The Washington Examiner.

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