Ex-FBI Agent Turned Russian Spy, Robert Hanssen, Found Dead In His Jail Cell

Robert Hanssen, the former FBI agent who spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for nearly two decades, was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday. He was 79 years old.

Hanssen was found unresponsive in his cell at the Federal Medical Center, Butner, North Carolina, at around 6:30 a.m., according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death is under investigation, but the FBI said there was no indication of foul play.

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

Hanssen was arrested in 2001 and charged with spying for Russia and the former Soviet Union using the alias “Ramon Garcia.” He earned nearly $1.5 million in cash, diamonds, and bank funds for his treasonous actions.

He admitted to selling classified information to the Soviets and Russians for more than $1.4 million over the course of his spying career.

He pled guilty to 15 counts of espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He served his time at the supermax prison in Colorado, which is considered to be the most secure prison in the world.

“A betrayal of trust by an FBI Agent, who is not only sworn to enforce the law but specifically to help protect our nation’s security, is particularly abhorrent,” then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh said at the time. “This kind of criminal conduct represents the most traitorous action imaginable against a country governed by the Rule of Law.”

Hanssen’s spying was one of the most damaging breaches of national security in U.S. history. He provided the Soviets and Russians with information on the identities of dozens of American intelligence agents, some of whom were later killed.