tv Investigation of Robert Hanssen CSPAN November 17, 2013 9:00am-11:01am EST
about it's rich history. learn more online. you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. >> from 1979 to 2001 fbi agent robert hanssen told top secret information to soviet and russian television agencies. next former fbi agent, author david wise and week psychiatrist david charny discuss the capture of hanssen who was convicted and is serving time in prison. the speakers describe the nature of this man who became a double agent. this is hosted by the officers memorial fund and the spy museum in d.c. it's about two hours.
>> welcome to the international spy museum and thank you so much for coming out this evening. i'm peter ernest, the executive collector of the museum and i'm very pleased to introduce craig floyd whom i've known for a number of years who keeps trying to build a competitor museum. although i've put obstacles in his way progress continues and i'm sure it will go very well. we look forward to his joining and that museum joining us here in this city of museums. i'm very, very pleased to welcome him and all of you to the international spy museum this evening. so have a great evening. enjoy.
>> let me welcome everyone here tonight. this is our 8th in a series of events that we call witness to history. it gives us a very important opportunity to get a first hand glimpse of the major moments in law enforcement history from those who actually participated in those events. tonight we take a look into what the u.s. department of justice has called, quote, possibly the worst intelligence disaster in u.s. history. from 22 years from 1979 until 2001 robert hanssen, an fbi special agent spied for soviet and russian intelligence services against the united states. tonight we will examine this infamous case with the fbi official who was at the center of the investigation that led to hanssen's arrest and with the author who wrote the definitive book about hanssen and the damage he did to america. we will look at what motivated an fbi agent and devoted family
man to spy on his own country, how he was able to get away without being detected for more than 20 years, how he was ultimately discovered and what changes were put into place to prevent such an intelligence catastrophe from ever occurring again. i want to begin by thanking the sponsor of our witness to history series and that would be the target corporation, eler and paul mckab are representing target. thank you both for what you have done for us tonight and through this series. certainly to our hosts this evening, clearly the international spy museum has become the premier or certainly a premier museum here in our nation's capital and around this nation. i want to thank peter ernest, their executive director and the spy museum for hosting this event and partnering with us. i hope this is one of many
opportunities we'll have to partner together. i also want to acknowledge and thank you for coming here tonight. this is our largest crowd we've ever had and i think it says a lot about the interest about this case as well as our partners here with the spy museum bringing some of their friends and supporters here along with our own. thank you all for joining us. i want to acknowledge and thank cspan for filming tonight's event as they have many times before so that it could be shared with a nationwide audience. we'll make sure to get you that schedule of airings after tonight's event. for those of you who might be unfamiliar with our work, the national law enforcement officers memorial fund was formed in 1984 to honor the service and sacrifice of america's peace officers. we dedicated a national mon you
memt in 1991 and we're building a national museum in their honor set to open in the spring of 2016 right across the street from the national law enforcement officers memorial in the 400 block of e and f streets. the witness to history program is being operated under the aus misses of the national law enforcement museum. let me introduce our esteemed pannalists of the evening. michael rochford retired. he comes from a long line of professio professionals from chicago. he began as a special agent in the 1980s the he rose to become the unit chief at the fbi for russian espionage and in march of 1992 became the senior executive chief for all the
cases for the bureau. he worked on awe drink aims, earl pitts and robert hanssen. he retired from the fbi in 2004 and we're honored and pleased to have him here with us tonight to share his story. david weiss, renowned author. in 1992 he wrote the book, spy. i have a copy of it here and there will be copies outside the doors here for sale for those who might want to get a copy. after you hear the story i think it will pique your interest and i think this book tells the whole story. we'll only be able to touch upon the highlights tonight, spy, the inside story of how the fbi's robert hanssen betrayed america. he's known as the nation's leading espionage writer. he's written a total of 14 books, most of them about america's intelligence and espionage agencies. his latest book is tiger trap,
america's secret spy war with china. it was one of publishers top ten books in the spring of 2011. i thank our distinguished guests here in the audience with us, too many to mention but certainly many law enforcement agency heads and great supporters of the national law enforcement officers memorial fund. let me start with an opening question for both of our panelists. i'm going to start with you, mike, if you would. let's put this case in some perspective, the robert hanssen spy case. how much damage was done by robert hanssen, the spy? >> can you hear me? >> please use the microphone for our cspan. >> let me tell you the assessment of the national counter intelligence executive in 2004 when i retired from the fbi relative to this case, their assessment was that he was the
fourth most damaging spy in the history of the united states because largely of the technical losses that he was responsible for. cumulatively if you had to reproduce some of these things it might be somewhere around $20 billion to have to replace these things. loss of three lives and multiple assets having been arrested and second source predication. rosenberg number one, walker two and i honestly can't remember the third. i guess i'm getting old and
feeble. >> conrad? >> conrad, that's exactly right. i don't know how you would assess manning or snowden when you throw them in that mix because both of those have to be looked at. that's what it was in 2004. >> i appreciate that. david, your thoughts? >> i can't put a ranking on how bad he was but he was bad and the damage he did was considerable because he passed hundreds of documents, secret documents, to the russians and did so over a long period of time. in addition, he did betray three people, two of whom were executed. they were also betrayed by al
gr dritch ames in terms of people executed or imprisoned, i would think that ames had a higher number. there were ten that he detrayed who are no longer living and many others who went to prison. in the case of hanssen, as mike as pointed out, there were technical secrets that he gave away that the russians were very happy to have and are very important. the biggest, of course, was the secret tunnel under the russian soviet and then russian embassy on wisconsin avenue in washington which was built by the fbi, operated by the nsa. it was an incredible project.
i circled that building many times looking for where the tunnel could have started because no one would tell me, and i think i know the house where it began. an fbi official for whom i have great respect, john lewis, now retired, did tell me a funny episode. he said we had to consider what we were going to do after the tunnel was betrayed and discovered, didn't we have to somehow close it down and the house might eventually be bought by somebody else. they decided they would have to cement the entrance to the tunnel because otherwise you might be sitting down to dinner and suddenly three beefy russians come up the stairs. that wouldn't do at all. so they did block the entrance
to the tunnel and i think i know the house but i don't really know for sure. i did circle the building several times and also on foot trying to figure it out where the tunnel began. i've written in the book about how they got rid of the dirt which of course was a huge, huge problem. how do you get rid of that amount of dirt when you excavate, secretly, under a building. so the technical secrets that he gave away were very important. the fact is that this went on for so long and he had access to the budget. he had access to the technical stuff. some of the documents he gave away dealt with our estimate of the soviet nuclear capacity. this was serious stuff that he was giving away and material that i'm sure the kgb was very happy to have. so, yes, it was very important
and he did a lot of damage. i don't know what his ranking is but it's certainly right up there. to my mind james and hanssen were the two tops in our time spies who damaged the country. >> thank you, david. i want to get into more about the secrets he divulged and how he did it. david, i'm going to come back to you, having written a book about this gentleman, robert hanssen, his early life. what led him to the fbi? take us through those years briefly. >> he didn't set out to be an fbi agent. his father wanted him to be a doctor and he couldn't get into medical school so he studied dentistry and then he decided he didn't want to look in people's
mouths -- >> he didn't like spit i think was his quote, right? >> yes. i didn't want to be too graphic but that's correct. he became an accountant and a cpa. his father was on the chicago police force. i guess he was commander in the norwood park area. i don't know chicago that well. but eventually he became head of the so called red squad which was investigating suspected communists including the league of women voters and other dangerous organizations. when people realized what was happening they cracked down and stopped the red squad, but then there were all these files on people. some of them might have been communist but most of them apparently weren't. so there was a mysterious fire in a file cabinet in which all these red squad files disappeared.
the file cabinet next to that one was untouched, so it seemed like a very selective fire. hanssen later told a colleague in the fbi that, yes, he was proud of the fact that his dad had run the red squad and had, in turn, destroyed the files. one of our guests tonight is dr. david charny whom i'll talk about a little more. i imagine david has thought a little bit about as i have, too, about a man whose father was trying to hunt down communists in chicago and he ends up giving secrets, massive secrets, to the communist government. that's kind of food for thought, especially like david, you're a psychiatrist. i am not. i'm just an old police reporter, but still, you think about things like that. so from the police force, he was
recruited into the fbi in 1976, about age 31 or 32. he was assigned at first to indiana and then to new york after the usual training and in new york he wasted no time. three years after he had been recruited into the bureau, he walked into the gru, the soviet military intelligence agency office in new york, and offered his services. they paid him $30,000. his wife discovered him writing a letter to the russians down in the basement and he very guiltily turned it over and she thought he was having an affair and he was writing to his girlfriend. he explained, it's all right, dear, it's just the russians. i'm just spying for the russians. so she made him because he
converted to catholicism after he married his wife, bonnie, she made him go to father bob buccerelli. father bob said you have to turn yourself into the authorities and return the money. it seemed like that was the end of his spying career but the next day father bob called him and said on second thought, maybe you could give that money to a worthy catholic charity, which is how the gru money ended up with mother theresa. but i think the important thing out of all this is he gives up dentistry and he doesn't get into medical school, works for the chicago police, becomes a cpa, joins the fbi and immediately starts working for
the russian military service. that's the important thing to remember. it makes you wonder, he claimed that he read kim fillby's book at age 14 and decided this course of action. i don't know whether to believe a thing like that, but you have to wonder about somebody -- this isn't some long festering desire to get even with the bureau or something. this was three years after he joins he's spying for the gru and giving money to mother theresa. so that's more or less the background of that. >> fascinating character and really contradiction of character. mike, i'd ask you, i know you didn't work directly with hanssen, but tell me what few contacts you had with him, what was your opinion of this man, and what was the opinion of his colleagues at the fbi? >> i met him as a young agent,
probably three or four years into being an fbi agent in the washington field office, about 1983 or '84. i met him through an analyst, jimmy millburn and bob king who helped me on a number of cases. i didn't think much of him. he was their supervisor and said hello. i'd seen him walking around the halls and people say that's dr. death, the mortician, and you hear these things about him that were kind of odd but strange and you just said, well, another kind of different guy. the rumors we had had was that he would help some of the analysts in unusual ways. there is one female agent who worked illegals that he kind of
helped her understand how to work with the morris code. he helped her buy software that the bureau didn't pay for in order to make her more efficient. there were a couple of female analysts -- one analyst that named her son after bob. she couldn't believe it, she thought we had the wrong guy. another analyst whom he -- because he was an opus dei recruit, he finds out a couple of these ladies are living with their boyfriends and he starts introducing them to birth control ideas, unsolicited. that made these ladies unimpressed with his political
correctness. this is a back drop. then i started working on the urchenkle case in '85 and come to find out later on that bob had been newly transferred to headquarters and he would sneak in and talk to eddie worthington and say joe wants these debriefings and he would like to get them faster than anybody else in the bureau. i come down every weekend, just give them to me so the mail won't make these things late. ed said forget it, we're going to do everything according to plan and how we do the regular process of disseminating information. he goes to the bathroom and there is bob at the famous xerox
machine on the 4th floor xeroxing the debriefings and says what the hell are you doing. he chastises him and says don't do this again. there was no mechanism at that time to report activities of a security nature. this went unreported, a little puff of smoke. in '92 i came back from a transfer in nashville, an agency of the memphis division. i came to work on the ames case, we call it major case 43. jimmy was assigned to work with gene and a couple people at the
agency on trying to call together this list of people who might be culpable in early losses to the russians. on this list of course was ames. so jim is writing this note on the assistant director about what their findings are, joint findings and how it looks like maybe rick is a little more culpable than the rest. bob down the hall is in the analytical group, and he decides to hack into jim's computer. he hacks into the section chief's computer, too, ray. he gets the note that jim is writing instantly and prints it. another analyst, bob king, takes a look at it and says you can't do that, that's not right, what are you doing. he said i'm just trying to show how vulnerable the new computer
system is and i'm going to fix it. bob says you better tell the section chief that you did that or i will. so he goes and reports it to ic smith. we heard about it. we said maybe we should fire this guy or something. they didn't because they thought, well, he's a good guy, a broken wing employees who went beyond the scope of what he was assigned to do. it took more initiative than anybody was comfortable with. those working on the penetration issues in that unit decided if they're not going to take action against him, let's do gorilla warfare. if we see him in lunch or the bathroom or in the hall we're going to walk the other way. if we see him in our area we're going to kick his ass out of our office. weapon won't tell him anything
off line because he's a little different. not that we thought he was a spy, we just thought he was a little different. that's kind of my back drop with him. later when i became supervisor at wfo after the arrest of ames and we're looking at allegations of penetration at an offsite, i got a call from bob some time between '96 and '98. he says i'm working with this defector and this fellow, he's interesting because he kind of knows as i do what your squad is doing. i said what's that, bob? he said you're looking for bad guys in the community. i go, well, how do you know that? he goes, well, it doesn't matter but, look, he's got ideas on where you can go. let me give you some names.
i said give me names, that's great but i'm not -- i'll send an agent out and maybe an analyst out to talk to you. because of his history and the back drop of what i explained earlier we didn't take him seriously and we think post arrest that he was actually trying to ill is it information from us. he might have been tasked by the russians, i don't know, but it was clearly a very bold and unusual for him to call me direct, especially since supposedly the rest of the population didn't know that we were conducting that offsite investigation. >> a lot of clues that seemly in hindsight might have made him more of a suspect than he was but obviously at the time you didn't have that context. >> we didn't put it together. the office of security didn't
collect that find of information. they've gotten a lot better at it. i like to call them puffs of smoke, had we collected them we could have been wiser and smarter in reacting based on his activities, but at that time the bureau was a forgiving organization so we kind of moved on. maybe we enabled him in that regard. >> david, you're thoughts on this, and mike may want to comment as well. after reading your book and talking to mike, it became clear to me that most spies are recruited by the other country and for some reason they appear vulnerable or they appear that this might appeal to them. in the case of robert hanssen, that's not how it happened, that he actually went to the soviets and then the russians once the soviet union collapsed and
offered his services to them and more or less controlled the entire relationship over those 22 years. explain how he first contacted the russians and how he communicated with them over the years. >> i should have mentioned when you asked about how he got into all this, into the fbi, i forgot to mention that in 1970 before he was in the fbi he applied to the nsa and he was rejected. luckily for nsa because the secrets might have come out 40 years before mr. snowden became famous. in any event, he did so in a very simple way in 1985 which was a very important year. it was so called the year of the spy. seven spies were arrested that year. in october of that year before a
couple of them had been arrested and the walker ring had been broken, john walker, he simply wrote a letter to a russian embassy diplomat official, but inside the letter was another letter addressed to the counter intelligence, very shrewd counter intelligence officer of the kgb, washington embassy. he became the supervisor of james who had also walked in some months before and then handled hanssen. so that's how he did it. that's how he made the contact. what's interesting to me, again
the psychology, this was the year of the spy. these people were being arrested, certainly the walkers had already been arrested, and it didn't seem to bother mr. hanssen at all that spies were being rolled up by the fbi. you would think that he might be a little bit cautious and say, well, maybe i better wait a little bit until some of this blows over but it didn't seem to deter him whatsoever. that's kind of interesting. then he was, as you suggested, completely in control of their methods of communication, all done with dead drops, chalk marks and tape on signs and telephone poles. a spy just can't go into a pay phone before they had cell phones and call up the embassy
as mr. pellton did which is how he was later identified by his voice. but a spy can normally not just make a phone call so he has to have some more clandestine way of communicating with the other side. this was the tried and true classic way in which the russians communicated. being a sort of computer nerd, hanssen kept pushing the russians and saying, we have to put this stuff on discs. so finally the russians agreed and they sent him a disc and the first disc he got he said this is wiped clean, there is nothing on it, you guys got to shape up. all during this period the russians only got a glimpse of him once at night. the claim is that they didn't know who he was. he used the name ramon and other names but never his true name.
they, would seems to me, could have found out who he was by checking his license plate. you can't do that anymore but at that time you could in the state of virginia, kind out who was driving that car and they had opportunities to see his car, i suppose, but they claim that they never knew who he was. so that was how he did it. the important thing to remember is from 1985 to 1991 he was very active. then in 1991 he stopped. that was just before the collapse of the soviet union. he may have felt that this endangered him because the soviet union collapsed on the 26th of december 1991, and his last communication with the kgb was ten days earlier, on the 16th of december, which happens to be my anniversary, i just
thought of that. i was in moscow about two months before that working on an article for the "new york times" in the last days of the kgb which now simply changed its initials, but it was the last days of the kgb. i think some time before that when i was in moscow i remembered talking to -- and this is relevant. i remember talking to the resident or the big boss in the embassy here for the russians. i said to him, boris, when walker walked in and the same question arises with ames and hanssen, these volunteers walk in, i said how did you know walker was real? boris says -- he spoke good english having been here several years. he said when he showed me the code keys. well, that was a pretty
interesting answer. >> mike, couple questions. one, it's confused me i guess, three years into his career as an fbi agent he's sent to the new york city field office and is involved in counter intelligence with the soviets and has access to some of the most sensitive counter intelligence information available. it sounded a little premature to me in terms of his career, that he hadn't really paid his dues. why was he treated as this fair haired boy and moved up the ranks fairly quickly and exposed to very sensitive information? >> in the 1970s, '79 or so he was -- actually, when he began his work in the new york field office, he was working in the
criminal decision. then he gets transferred to the counter intelligence decision. why? well, he had this expertise in computers. his ability to try and help the intelligence division when it first started the computerizing some of the data on the suspected and known intelligence offices was an asset to the leadership of the new york division. they traded for him to get with the criminal division to get him on board. they had heard he was so good at computers. that gave him access at that time to one of the most important cases early on of a person recruited.
as david talked about, when he decided to volunteer to the gru up in new york at that time, that was one of the things he told them was that polekov was working for us. he learned this by looking at some of the computer entries that they gave him access to. the gru at that time weren't real friends with the kgb so they never told the kgb that they had an anonymous source. all they did was remove him from india and park him away in an office. until 1986 or 1987 when ames gives him up, the kgb goes to the gru and says, hey, we have a problem with this general.
they said we know. why didn't you tell us, well, they arrest him and interrogate him and execute him about a year half later. these transfers to different divisions within the bureau are sometimes just accidents. sometimes who you know and sometimes they really do pull you around into different divisions. bureau because of your talents. hanssen did have good talents in computers. >> was it any part of his own plan? did he have any ability to influence the decision-making process and put him in places where he could get access to secrets? >> that never came out through the debriefings. when the washington field office debriefed him 33 times, there was never any indication that he had this master plan other than, as david said, he did mention he
read the silent war of fillby and he actually said he did it when he was 24 and it was too late because it was published in '58. the bureau talked post arrest to some of his people who are co students at northwestern university and they said what do you think? these are the same students who told the bureau that he would make a fine agent and had all the moral character of one of the best persons and be a terrific investigator. they said he told us at parties that he wanted to be the greatest spy in the history of the united states. well, thank you. so an fbi comes to you for a background and you forget to tell them that but you tell them post arrest that he was not worthy. well, let's get this straight,
folks. why don't you just tell us these things right from the beginning. i've heard people say why didn't the bureau dig a little deeper. people have to tell you things and you rely on the words of people or references to tell you things. i don't think there was a master plan. david churny may know more because he interviewed him as a psychologist or psychiatrist. i think the reason he did this was not for money, even though in the '80s he borrowed $96,000 from his mother which he paid back from the fruits of the espionage. i think it was because he thought he was smarter than everybody else. he was a person who was not shown great attention by his superiors and co-workers.
i think many of us agents were busy doing our work and when we had something important to do we didn't drag bob along because he wasn't one of our buddies that went out and had a beer with. he didn't appeal to us as someone that would -- it was a source developer or a case breaker. he was a guy who was comfortable around smart analysts with phds and was happy to help drive the wedge -- deepen the wedge between the agents and the analysts and manipulate that by getting them to break down compartmentation that they had access to throughout the intelligence community and get them to share things with him that they shouldn't have shared because he bye friended them. like i said, in one case he got an analyst some software that the bureau wouldn't pay for and he paid for out of his own
money. so she would tell him things. when you interview those analysts, they would tell you how they had been dispatched to the very depths and breaths of the intelligence community. the bureau was told the foreign intelligence advisory board said that analysts have to -- they are presidential appointees. they need to be dispatched throughout the intelligence community on highly compartmentized projects. after 1986 when he came back to the analytical group after being -- i guess it was '88. he comes back the second time, that becomes a killing ground.
the killing ground that he used to grab this stuff that was owned not by the bureau but by the community and he's able to hide the fact that he's from the bureau because he's giving away inter agency information, he cuts off headers and footers it's from these analysts and it doesn't look like he's from the bureau. so the kgb is willing to take a look at his production and say, you know what, we don't care what his identity is. we could follow him around. we could set him up. but they instructed those officers who were clearing the drops, they said, no, don't do that. you will make him mad. if he discovers that you are lingering, you will make him mad and we will have inactivity from a highly productive source. weapon can we canada 't do that. they were willing to go with the
evidence that he gave. they are willing to throw $50,000, $20,000 at a pop on a drop and live with it. by 1989, according to our best information, between '85 and '89, their accounting in the kgb was that he had given 6,000 pages of documents, mostly xeroxed on the 4th floor xerox machine which didn't have a counter on it, it didn't have a pin number on it. a couple times he gave out top secret documents that he demanded back the originals and they would give them back to him at other drops. very smart and sneaky that,
again, i'd say when you look at the rationale, it doesn't make sense to any of us. it's not something any of us would partake in. so you try and get inside of head of a spy and it's like i guess trying to figure out a serial killer. i think there is conflict there. i don't know. it's really hard for me to figure. i can't walk in those shoes. my friend dave murphy used to say walk a mile in his mock asins. i can't. that's a walk i don't want to take. >> you mentioned pollkof top hat. i've deny reading on that spy. for the russians on our behalf he was for more than 20 years perhaps our greatest provider of soviet intelligence. when that asset was lost based
on what hanssen had done, that was a great loss to the united states. so i just wanted everybody to understand that giving up top hat was perhaps the greatest loss of intelligence assets that we had in terms of a soviet spy helping us. david, let me ask you this, you eluded to this and i'm fascinated by how spies are able to communicate with, in this case, with the soviets and the russians without them ever knowing his identity. in other words, they couldn't reach him and call him on his cell phone or reach out to him whenever they wanted to. they had to wait until he was ready to come to them. as i understand it, he did that a lot in letter writing and did it anonymously of course to try to protect his identity. i think ramon garcia you said was his alias but i don't understand how he's able to give them secrets, tell them where to
find those secrets at his appointed hour and then how do they negotiate an award -- a reward for that? how much money do i get for this particular bag of documents that i'm giving you? can you explain a little bit about how all that works? >> it was up to the russians as to how much money they would gave him. they would give him $50,000 $100,000. he did ask for diamonds once, he got three diamonds. mike mentions the money that he borrowed from his mother but people tend to discount the money as a motivation but having been paid more than $600,000 by the russians, i'd like to see a show of hands of anybody here who wouldn't want an extra
$600,000 if it came their way without breaking any laws. i don't see any hands going up. so he was happy to have that much money and partly that was to prove to his wife he was a good provider, but this was a very complex man. he was a bundle of contradictions but here you have a guy whose father as i mentioned earlier is chasing so called reds and he ends up as a russian spy. he's a family man, apparently a good father, family man, and yet became involved with a stripper priscilla sue daigaily. took her to hong kong on an official inspection trip. there was some inspecting going on there in the hotel room. i had to interview her as part of my research and i want to
tell you my wife was very understanding. she understood that it had to be done. i was in a hotel with her in boston for two days, not sharing a room. i want to make that clear. but we did have long interviews. here he is, he's opus dei and goes to mass without exception and yet he's a russian spy. so go figure. of course i wanted to interview him and that was not possible. it's still not possible. he's totally under wraps under something called a sam which stands for special add minute administrative measures which means he's in this box he built for himself and gets out one hour a day if he's lucky and nobody can see him and no one can contact him except his lawyer and his wife. so in the super max in florence, colorado, from which no one has
ever escaped, that's where he is now. so complex guy and a bundle of contradictions and you have to ask -- you always hope when you are writing a book you're going to have a break, something good will come your way. the break for me was -- i don't know whether i should add investigator ties this. he gave permission to david charny to talk to me, david being the psychiatrist who interviewed him for many years. that was a tremendous break for me because i was able to look inside the mind of hanssen as he had spoken to his doctor and normally that would be confidential but hanssen said, no, go ahead and talk to him. that was the kind of break that writers hope for. in this case it was very useful.
dr. charny who i think really understands hanssen's mind was able to share some of that with me and the motivations, very complicated set of motivations that he had. one of them certainly was money which i mentioned. that was a lot of money and the diamonds. the diamonds are easy to conceal so spies like them. eventually he decided he wanted cash. he turned two of them back for cash and the russians gave him back for the diamonds.
channel and it was his friend hanssen. they were still frat boys together and i guess they thought this was something that frat boys would do. again, very complicated guy. i mean this was crazy. and toward the end of his -- of his spying career, as he began to get nervous, he wrote things to the russians that stick in my mind. he said things like i'm either insanely loyal to you or just insane. interesting. he didn't know which he was. he began to realize he was strange and that his actions were strange and he said i may be insane. and the russians handled him very cleverly. they played to his ego. and vladimir kruschov praised
him and it was designed to stroke his ego and i'm sure he was happy to get the letters from the big boss in the square. oriosnovo. so very hard to figure him out, really. and david charney helped me do that and i think i did, you know -- come to understand a little bit. >> might be a good opportunity to go to our good friend dr. charney. if i could have a staff microphone up here, i think we have some hand-helds that we can bring up here. but who better to talk about the psychological motivations perhaps, try to help us understand this contradictory figure, this devout opus dei catholic, goes to mass each and every day, allows his best
friend to view him and his wife having sex. he has an affair with a stripper and he's a patriot, supposedly, when he becomes an fbi agent. conservative in his political beliefs. his father helped try to rid communism back in the day. and yet, he turns into a spy against his own country. dr. charney. >> i have to apologize for dr. charney for roping him in here. i don't know that he was prepared to be -- >> no, we talked earlier and the doctor said he'd be glad to share some of his understandings of this very complex man. so please, dr. charney. >> i am able to talk about it because of in the meetings with bob hanssen, he explicitly gave me permission to be able to convey the essence of what was inside of his mind as a teaching opportunity to the intelligence community. as a cooperative measure in
terms of all the work we did together over a year. i met with him for two hours a week for an entire year. i'm not going to tell you that was the most pleasant time of my life. going into a prison was bad enough. but bob was very starved at that point in his life for human contact that was not adversarial. think about it. you're in a jail and everybody hates you. you meet with a few people on a regular basis, the good people that do damage assessments, but you can notice that they want to spring across the table and grab you by the throat and kill you. so that's one category of person. the other one are your own attorneys. and the apologies to attorneys in the room, but attorneys like to talk. they don't like to listen as much.
they want to tell you what to do and guide your case. so there is bob, isolated in a jail cell. having and these two categories of people. and in comes the shrink who just keeps his mouth shut. what a lovely opportunity to let it all come out. and with two hours he had a lot to say. and in fact, really most of the occasions that i met with him, it was the sound of the strident dell ending visiting hours that ended our talks because he would have gone on for another half hour, easily. now, circling back to the psychology. what i learned from bob and from two other spies that i worked with, i put into a concise statement that i don't pretend answers everything, but it gives you a good start.
and it's this. the foundation of it comes from an intolerable sense of personal failure as privately defined by that person. privately defined by that person. meaning you could look at their life and say, okay, yeah, you had hard knocks, it was difficult. it wasn't that bad. well, doesn't matter what you think. it matters what the person thinks. and now we circle to this other very important thing which is male pride and ego. at least 95% of insider spies are male. and so i figured out being a physician that there's a genetic indicator for what makes people become insider spies.
the "y" chromosome. you're dealing with male psychology and you're always dealing with male pride and ego. if you start off in life experiencing something that could only be put into one key word with bob and that was feeling belittled, at the hands mainly of his father. his father was a real tough chicago cop, was not warm and friendly. and actually was very hard on bob and bob told me a number of anecdotes that were very disturbing to him even in the retelling. in fact, it was in the very first meeting with bob that he told me about being wrapped into a carpet by his father, as a form of punishment.
but it stood out in his mind and it was very much alive for me. if you're dealing with somebody who on the interior feels that they are a failure in some key way, then you know that they are going -- there are going to be many experiences, we have all them, where you have more failure shoved down your throat. who hasn't had experiences of failure in their life. but if you have one key big one at the beginning, then all the rest add up and pile up. but as you were saying, both of you, he's a very complicated guy. and there's no one explanation because he also knew that he was very smart. and he was very smart. i have to add that he wasn't quite as smart as how we thought he was. but he was smart. to give you an example of that. there was one occasion that he explained to me that if he wanted to, he could communicate with the kgb or svr from his prison cell. what?
he went into a technical explanation which i did understand as he i had it out, that he was permitted to have a tv set in the wall of his cell. and that there were no knobs on it because that would be dangerous and he had a remote controller and he understand that worked with infrared. he knew if he pressed the buttons in the right way he could develop morse code communication. if he got the word out to the kgb, they could be on a hill on the other side of alexandria pointed at this window and read his morse code communications. that's the kind of smarts he had. who knows if that could actually be done. the last thing i want to mention that you already mentioned a bit and that is one key thing that we learn about in our field and that's called oddly enough it's
a term in the field of intelligence, compartmentalizati compartmentalization. it's a way of a person somehow being able to wall off parts of their life, their personally -- their personality and keep them in separate compartments. you say, how can a person do that? i must tell you that i do that every day in my work. why? when i start an appointment with somebody, a patient, i have got to be in the compartment that is that person's life and put away all the other things that i have been thinking about, the other patients before or after. i'm with that person in their world and then when that session is over, shut that door, move on to the next. so i'm not going to say to you that this is an abnormal thing.
i think we all do it, except he did it even better than any of us could do in this audience. he was able to compartmentalize and be a russian spy, a very devout catholic, a very loyal -- get this -- special agent of the fbi and how do i know that? because he would tell me constantly ways that the fbi could improve itself. the things that he had done, the people he had brought to the fbi to help build up the fbi. such as john boyd who was a brilliant air force officer who had a vast different way of looking at things. he told me i brought him to the bureau and they just had no interest in him at all. but look what they could have learned. and this is the spy telling me this. as you said, go figure. >> thank you, dr. charney. very helpful.
can i ask you something? one of the things about bob that kind of was puzzling to us was his relationship certainly with his father and yet, in the things that you were able to get from him relative to that were very helpful to everyone to understand. but vivian, his mom, seemed to think that his childhood was just fine. i mean, how can she live in that same household and not see the dysfunction and kind of the deterioration of his ego, male ego, whatever it is, that kind of pushes him into this? i just don't understand that. >> well, i'll try to explain that a little bit. you know, the issue comes up in any family where there are say
three or four or five children and one comes out great, the others are normal and one is real horrible. and you say, how could that be? you know, this is a lovely set of parents and they did so well with these, but what happened with that one? i'm not sure. but one of the theories about it, separate from genetics of course, is think about microcultures within a family. we all come from families and we know that the relationships and the tone of the feelings that occur between a father and a daughter, a father and some sons and the mother and all that, it's all on different wavelengths. it's almost like different radio stations. and someone on one station can't totally get what's going on on the other radio station. they're not tuned in. so i could picture the mother would not get it because she wasn't -- she didn't get guys'
psychology for one thing. do guys get women's psychology? forget it. do women understand guys' psychology? not that much really. it's stuff that guys know about guys, women know about women. that could have gone right over her head. >> all right. thank you. >> i want to ask mike one final question of mine. i may have others, but i want to go to the audience and give you all a chance to ask a few questions i'm sure that are on your mind and we'll have staff here with microphones to assist you in that. but mike, we have to conclude this part of the program with a story that you had told me earlier today. that's really how you ultimately caught robert hanssen, figured out that he was this spy that you had been looking for for really a decade or more and include your first initial
suspect was a game named briyan kehl -- brian kelly. tell us about the end of robert hanss hanssen's spy career. >> sure. i'll take you back to a time that's just after the arrest, conviction and sentencing of rick ames 1994. i'm just finishing up my work at headquarters and i'm asked by bear bryant and steve dillard to put in for a desk at wfo and this desk, this squad is to look at some multiple allegations of penetration of the intelligence community that are not attributable to ames.
the squad that was conducting the ames case was also starting firing up on the pitts case out of new york. so -- >> another fbi spy. >> they co-located my squad with that squad. and we helped each other. mike donner became the supervisor of that group. i stole some of the best talent from the washington field office in order to staff my squad, about 14, 15 people. i'd come and talk to them on their -- in their squad and i'd just say hello and i haven't seen you in a while and are you happy here? and couldn't tell their supervisor. so i took dillard up on the challenge. he said, hey, i want this guy, that woman, and that person and after i talked to them for four or five minutes they get this
funny call from galley row to take a polygraph. they started figuring it out, because after i show up they get this call and then after they pass the polygraph, they know their desk is empty and their supervisor doesn't see them anymore and they're assigned to me. so it was kind of funny. the effort that we start is we know without a doubt at that time there exists a penetration that the kgb considered to be worse than ames. and they didn't know who it was. and we built up -- we knew some things were compromised. and not attributable to ames. not attributable to pitts. so -- this is very difficult for
agents in the field. not to have a person to investigate with a name. it's terrible. it's most disturbing. it's frustrating. so -- then to also have what i set up were some analysts that were just brilliant in building matrixes and they were able to work on building a matrix of compromised cases in operations and we kind of number these compromises and said, you know, okay, placement and access to these things, use between 58 and 62 that changed at any given time. it was kind of a fluid matrix. and so we listed people who had access to these things. two critical elements that were in this matrix was one, the person probably worked in a counterintelligence center of
the cia. which makes us believe that it was probably an agency person. second was that this person worked on and had access to and helped the bureau with the felix plot case. so we -- and then of course we looked in the soviet european division of the agency too. because that was a logical place for some of these operations and cases that went south. and we worked with a very trusted group of analysts and investigators and case officers at the agency that were really brilliant. we'd sit around and we'd actually vote as a group on culpability potential for these folks that were on our list. we started off with a list of about 200, 245 case officers. we'd look at their security and personnel files.
we'd look at their psychological profiles because they'd be talking to people like david and get assessed and we'd look at medical things to see if they had vulnerabilities. look at their financial things and we'd come up with folks that we thought then fit this matrix. we culled it down from about 200 to 25 or so, down to 50, down to about 34, then down to a key 17. 17 persons. all of whom were innocent. at the end of the day, none of them had any culpability. >> robert hanssen was not on that list. >> hanssen was not on that list. we were looking in the agency. this person was able to give the kgb specific information that helped them rebuild, reorganize
director "k," like the new division of the counterintelligence center that the cia had stood up. so isn't that interesting? so using that and then taking the block case we looked at, you know, brian kelly who had worked on that case and gotten a dci award for very good work in identifying mr. gikman as an illegal who was in touch with felix block over in france. and the unfortunate part that brian had was his access mirrored that of hanssen. and we also misattributed some of those elements that were just incorrect. we were wrong. so by basing our initial look on
analytical findings, in looking at that matrix, it was incorrect. at the same time, so we're pressing on and we're kind of desperate because we think we're still losing cases and things and operations, but at the same time, we had a parallel operation which we started in the mid '80s. and it was based on a fellow named yurichenko. he said to me, you know, when we had a problem with sources in the cia or the fbi or the state department we decided that we would get together and we'd make a list of folks we knew work in those places. and we'd be willing to pay a million bucks if they cooperate with us. kind of helped our asset pool. so we thought, oh, that's interesting. so what we did is on another
track working with the agency, we made a list of people who were on board or retired kgb officers and decided these are american targets officers who if we interviewed them and they would tell us the ground truth, what's inside of their head about culpability of americans who had been spies for the russians. we could solve some issues and we could let them go away and we'd pay them a million bucks. so the couple of us got together and with the signed permission of the dci, of the cia, and the director of the fbi, webster actually signed this memorandum and every director after that did. we would each commit equal parts of a million dollars to try to
get someone to help us resolve this kind of trace and so i pitched lots and lots of russians. around the world. and did it in conjunction with the agency and they did it along with me here in the u.s. and it was great team effort. and so come about the year 2000 when we were in the midst of the wrong chase and investigating the heck out of a couple of innocent people including brian, we -- i had an opportunity to go talk to someone. and we have a mechanism to invite them over to the united states. and i'm able to say, hey, you know, interdict him on the streets of new york and say, hey, look, how you doing?
i don't know him from adam. and he looks at me like i'm goofy and says, hey. who are you? i give him a business card. he looks at it. and he says, what do you want? well, let's sit down. let's just sit down here and let's have a drink. he said i don't drink with strangers. i said, okay, don't have a drink. i'll sit down and have a beer and you can have a water. he's playing with my business card and looking at me. do you have any credentials to validate what this card says? yes, sure. that's me. and he said, you know, what i'm going to do with the business card, he says i'm going to go to the russian mission at the united nations. give this to the security officer and i'm going to have him take that to "the new york times" and we're going to put it on the front of "the new york
times" that you have ruined my business opportunity as a former russian diplomat. and, you know, your name will be all over the front pages of "the times" for being a provocateur. i said, you know, probably that's fiction. probably nobody at "the new york times" gives a rat's ass about you, but i care about you. you know, you'd be lucky if that thing appears in "the new york times" comic strip. i want to make you the most successful russian-american businessman in the history of our two countries. this is serious. only the director of the cia and the director of the fbi know that i'm here. nobody else. and he said, you know, how am i going to eat? i said, well, he said -- you know, my ticket is i have to
stay here for a couple of weeks. he said i know. just so happens i'll be up here in two weeks, i'll take you to lunch, dinner, breakfast, every day. let's start with the lobster dinner on the director of the fbi tonight. so i said i'll meet you in three or four hours. he said, if i show up i'll come with a security officer from the united nations. and will you pay for him? i said sure. no problem. they show up, i asked my guys who accompanied me there and i said, was he in touch with the security officer? no, the only call he made was to get the two ounce bottle refilled in the refrigerator. so he shows up, he's little off balance and i don't blame him. we go and have a dinner and he's
very aggressive. pretty much telling me that you can forget it. i'll never cooperate. i should just pack my bags and go home. this is a fool's errand. so i go back and talk to my team and say, it's not going to work. this is a waste of time. i have talked to a number of others and i understand when you ask somebody to dance and they don't want to dance, you don't dance so we're done. and he said, no, no. he's still there. he wants to meet with you. keep meeting with him. he may just have a change of heart. he shows up, you have a dialogue and the relationship is there. if he doesn't show up, then it's over. so they kept kicking me out the door. and i didn't want to go. and it was in -- it was interesting over a couple week
period, i mean, i was getting counterpitched and told how i could make a lot of money over there and, you know, if i would show up in his neighborhood and i said, no, it's not about me, it's about you. and then finally, we had met in some irish bar and -- we used to call it tell me more, dude, because we were drinking telemerdu. he said i want to tell you something and i won't go into the specifics but it was very startling. he said i can tell you everything about it, but he said it's -- it's important that we have trust. and that i know that it goes no
further except to your director and the director of the agency. i said, sure, no problem. i said if we're going to enter into this then we're going into the hotel room and off the streets and we'll talk seriously about what we can do for you. so we go to the room, and we negotiate i'll call it a contract. what he wanted and what we were willing to provide. and he wanted me to sign the contract. i said no, i'll be your advocate but, you know, the director of the fbi will sign it. it will be louis freeh. so it will be seen by the agency's director. i said, you know, we're in it to again make you the most successful guy in the history of businessmen of our two countries. so we sent it back in. get some very frantic calls over the -- secure calls from
headquarters and from the agency. and he said is this for real? we go, yeah, it's for real. so we bring the agency in. and facilitate a mechanism to have an exchange of what he says he has, which is the whole file. of the interaction between '85 and '91 that the kgb with this guy. but they don't know who he is, they don't know where he works. and they just know he's in the community. and so we said, okay, we'll take that bet. he said, i have some forensic information you might want that i'll put in there too and we wait. he goes back home. he doesn't show up for an
important exchange. had a couple of folks in the bureau that called me up and said, hey, you just wasted the agency's money because the bureau didn't pay the up front money, the agency paid the money, god bless them and they're good about that. michael zuellic will always be my hero. so what we do is find a mechanism to be in touch with him again. and we get him to tell us why he didn't show up. get another date, time and place that's solid and they're able to meet with him and bring that stuff home. we train the station -- the overseas station of the agency in the rules of federal criminal procedure which is we put them on a green sheet, which means
upon receiving the information it became evidence. first time ever that i know that ever happened. so because they were on the green sheet, we met him at the airport along with case agent from wfo. and we brought that information to headquarters, not to wfo. and we gave it to the laboratory. within four or five hours we had louis freeh and his deputy looking at it and he said, this is pretty astounding, yes, it is. go on over and brief the attorney general tomorrow and director freeh looks at picard and said i'm going to chicago tomorrow. so you can take mike over there. no, i'm going there too, boss, and so is ashcroft. so they both look at me, mike, you can do the briefing
tomorrow, don't worry. this is cool, they'll all like it. tell the new deputy attorney general all about it. i go over there, i'm a gs-14 another that time. thinking, geez, i'm in high water, i don't know what to do. i give them the briefing and 25 attorneys show up and a new deputy attorney general shows up. his name is bob mueller. and so i brief him about this case and after he's done, he goes, mike, that's the coolest case i ever heard. is this for real? i go yeah. he says, are you guys ready to do what you've got to do? you know, we have the section chief for russian matters, and he worked with tim crusoe at wfo and they started briefing people away from the brian kelly case one by one and made stephen pluto the case agent and actually teamed up with the
co-case agent from buckmire's squad. from within a month and half, two months, we open that case on november 15th, november 16th. so he's arrested february 18th. presidents' day. it's what, phenomenal to me, three months they write about a hundred-page affidavit. why was it such affidavit, why did it have so much information from a sensitive source? well, the reason it did is because ashcroft wanted to make this a capital punishment. with good reason. my source had agreed to beyond all hope, he agreed to be a
witness if i would be an advocate for him to help keep his identity quiet in front of a judge, which i did. so since he agreed to that, we prepared him to testify and randy bellows, the prosecuting attorney of the espionage section of the department of justice, he put the information forward in that 100-page affidavit and let the defense see the preponderance of the information and that if government was prepared to go to capital punishment case on this based on out of those three people that were executed it was really the case of martinos that would have caused -- that we would present it in court. so that's why there was so much information in there. and it was -- for my next two or
three months i had to deal with my source. well, for the rest of my life for being tenacious, courageous and determined to help us and even though he didn't want to testify he was willing to do it. so that was kind of -- that's how we came to understand it wasn't brian. and within this document that we got was a folder and in this folder, it said do not everyone until you see me. so you know we got this on november 4th or 5th. we didn't see my source again until the 15th of november. so we look at that stuff and turns out hanssen gave his biggest dunk to the russians on november 12th. we hadn't had the case opened yet. we missed that dump, but we were in the receipt of the
culpability of hanssen, right, so we see him and he goes, hey, did you open that stuff? it says not to open it. he said, open it, it's got forensic information and we did. it had the thumb print, the fingerprint on the back and it had a tape recording of hanssen's interaction with a guy in august of '86. he tape recorded a phone call. who listened to that tape to identify? two cracker jack analysts, jim milburn and bob king. and they were in my office the next morning telling me we had the wrong guy in brian and we have to go forward with bob because it's bob that's guilty. i said you go ahead and brief the assistant director, you earned this. so they did. and the rest is kind of history. you know, maybe i went into too much -- >> you made the arrest. >> wfo made the arrest, yeah. and they built the case.
they really did. it was a fantastic effort. by hundreds of agents and analysts and we couldn't break the disc that my source gave. he gave us several discs so we had to use the community efforts to bring people in from the ft. meade and from the agency to actually break the discs and it was communication with the russians. >> then you negotiated with hanssen so he wouldn't get the death penalty and his family got his retirement benefits if he'd divulge the information he had given the soviets and the russians and then he went to jail for the rest of his life. 15 consecutive life without parole sentences and robert hanssen will never see the light of day ever again. he serves now 23 hours a day in solitary. one hour he's let out to exercise. and it's not a good life for
him, but we've got a lot of the secrets we wanted in the end. that's a fascinating story and how it all came to an end. in the last few minutes that we have, i would like to open it up for any questions that the audience might have. somebody has a microphone. help us out here, guys. all right. let's start right here. >> i'd like to ask a question because i have been waiting for 40 minutes now. >> excuse me, i have a security guard coming. i have two questions. >> excuse me, ma'am. >> i want to know how robert hanssen got his money -- >> excuse me. >> two, i would like to know -- >> if we could have a question, please. >> hello. can you hear me? >> yes. >> okay. i wanted to disclose i'm patricia kelly. i'm brian kelly's widow. and so my question is two-fold. and just as a back drop, brian was for three to four years 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
he was under surveillance including helicopters, false flags, pretense -- what do you call those things? polygraphs. i'm an attorney, and i promise, david, i won't go on. and he was walked out of the agency for 18 months he was out in the cold. not knowing whether he was going to be charged with, he was never charged but he was suspected of espionage, okay? and my understanding is that there were one-third of a squad that believe he was innocent. i have two questions. the first question is is why did the fbi stridently investigate brian after all you got publicly and there's probably classified that i don't know anything about and that brian didn't know anything about, but the only piece you received was a jogging
map. that was it. he was interrogated, his daughter was interrogated. his two sons. they put two fbi agents on them in new york and kentucky. two agents, this is all like a -- you know, like a movie i suppose. probably that's the best way to describe it. that's the first question. my second question and this is of mr. rochford, is in november, november 15th of 2000, that's when you actually opened up and heard and forensically identified that it was the prints and the voice not of brian kelly but of robert hanss hanssen. why did the fbi or the system leave brian out in the cold from november 15th until hanssen's arrest? actually, brian didn't find out anything until it was on the news the day after presidents'
day in 2000. why was he left out in the cold like that. i could sit here and ask another hundred questions but we can do that another time. that's my questions. and thank you too. i did want to say one other thing, mr. rochford. thank you for stating publicly in this forum that the fbi was wrong. >> yeah. >> i appreciate that. my family appreciates that also. thank you. >> it's been a long time coming, you know, for the public acknowledgment of the bureau that we were wrong. and what drove us was his placement and access. there's nothing that brian did in any aspect of the investigation that made us feel that, you know, he had passed anything to the russians. we were looking -- we based the case on compromised operations and compromised agents, and he had the closest, freshest access at the time that those things went south.
plus, i have to tell you, prime was the first location of a dead drop and one that this source had continued to use like 17 times in the first year in his interaction with the kgb. in 1985. that was notaway park and that's where brian did his running stuff there. so this -- some of the information that we had relative to movements and activities in parks and stuff, it was where russians who were picking up this classified information, 6,000 documents between '85 and '91, were meeting with this source and we're going oh, my goodness, you know?
it was the drive that we had really was based on a sincere, honest belief that we could be losing sources on a continuing basis unless we plugged the hole. what we did was in consultation with attorneys and with the senior levels of the cia. and when we identified hanssen, we went to senior leadership in the agency and we said, look, it's your employee. it's up to you when you bring him back. and we were told that look, if we bring him back into the agency at that time, that day, your subject is gonna know.
because he'll see that you're bringing in your most -- you know, your biggest suspect and he may discontinue contact with the russians and you need to have this meet, right? you go, yeah. well, let's put this on hold and freeze it. and we at the agency will take that responsibility. we were ready for them to reinstate him and bring him back into the building, but it was our cooperation with the agency at that level right up to that -- i mean, right up to the tenet, you know? and to give us three or four months to make the case and then after that they would deal with brian. so we said, okay, fine, you know, we -- it was very
difficult. i mean, if i had anything to do over again, it would not be to open the case up on brian, because it was the wrong -- we had the wrong output. however, when we looked at the compromise operations that would drive from analytical looks, it was like gosh, how do we move on? so if we had moved on from brian, okay, we would have -- before my source information, we would have gone on to another set of innocent people. because we were looking again at the agency. all right? and there are times when you just have to go forward with looking at unknown subjects in order to try and identify a culpable bad boy. and we did it in the case of
rudolph, remember they were looking at pearl, and even director freeh thought it was pearl. so that doesn't make it any easier for you, and i'm sorry for all the pain and -- that was brought to you and your family. but we -- we felt like we were on the right set of trails. we were if we had only been not so egotistical as to just look at the agency. we would have looked internally, we probably would have seen brian. it's interesting, when pitts was arrested in '96, '97 he got interviewed down in kentucky. by the case agent. and one of the things the inspector general, when he look at our investigation said, hey, pitts was asked if he knew of any other culpable spies in the
bureau. he said, oh, you should look at hanssen. well, we didn't think anything of it. as investigators in '97, '98, why? because here's some baseless comment from a guy who's in jail for the rest of his life, for espionage. he's giving us no solid facts to tell us what his gut reasoning is for giving us that information. but he was right. all right. so that made it more bitter for us when the inspector general looks at this thing. when the inspector general looked at our investigation that was one of the main criticisms was that they thought we were looked on to brian too heavily at the -- during the course of all this unsub look. and, you know, in retrospect we probably were, but, you know, it
was a group grope, it wasn't my singular decision. it was a lot of the senior leadership of the bureau, and we brought in the fisa court judges. you know, we -- it was all within the context of rule of law and stuff. so it was nothing, you know, from a personal point of view, i know you probably look at it as reckless. we didn't look at it that way. we looked at it as extremely aggressive at the end of a case in order to try and get where we needed to go and it was again -- >> i think it proves that the robert hanssen spy case hurt a lot of people. certainly hurt the kelly family. >> i can say, i don't know if mrs. kelly is aware of this, but of course she knows, but a chapter in my book called the wrong man, and the suffering and brian who became my friend what he went through. but what she may not realize is that the cia leaned very heavily on me to leave that story out of
my book. and i explained to the gentlemen i knew well who was trying to influence me to leave the name out of the book that if he were a marginal character i might consider that but he was cent l centrcentra central -- you know, he was the wrong man and he was central to the story and mike deserves full credit for making it possible to arrest hanssen. but that wasn't the end of it, because then the director of the cia, george tenet, wrote a letter to the president at random house which was my publisher saying what a terrible thing i was doing, ruining this man's life and -- and i said to my publisher, the cia walked him
out of the building and as far as i know they didn't challenge the fbi and say, well, where's the evidence on brian kelly? and to the credit of my publisher, they didn't even respond to george tenet's letter. and when an assistant to the publisher said aren't you going to answer the letter, he said, let him read it in the book. and that's my kind of publisher. >> well, one other comment before we leave this, okay, because you know, one of the things that was really amazing to me about brian is after all this is done, he stays with national counterintelligence executive and winds up i think as a contractor. and he winds up teaching the community in what does he take on? he teaches the community how in unsub investigations you shouldn't have an overreliance
on judgments that lead investigators away from gut instinct and into the overanalyzed situation. that could misconnect the wrong dots. okay? i hope i'm saying it correctly. and i know analysts in the bureau have taken that course and, you know, taken it to heart. and i know that that was some of the mantra that we used in cd-4 of the espionage section which are built after that case before i retired. so, you know, it's a good legacy. it really is. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> a couple other questions. we're going a few minutes over, but i think we have a lot of questions here. so we'll try to get to as many as we can. gentlemen? >> i'd like to ask about what you knew about robert hanssen's wife and how much she might have known, if she visits him today, and if she does, why?
and i'd like maybe the psychiatrist to answer some of that if he knows. >> maybe i can answer that a little bit. >> please, david. >> bonnie hanssen obviously as we have discussed this evening she knew that he wasn't writing to a girlfriend and she was quite relieved that he was only writing to the russians. so obviously, she was aware back in '79 when he was spying for the gru that he was indeed a russian spy. he promised her he would stop. and she apparently believed that. so then the question arises when he seemed to have more money than typical fbi special agent might have whether she was curious about that, known as the incident which i have described where several thousand dollars was found on his dresser and his brother-in-law brought that to the attention of the fbi, but
that never got to headquarters apparently. his complaint about that. he was out in chicago and told his -- told one of the people in his office about that money. and that was not considered apparently significant enough to get up to headquarters as far as i know. so i can't say to what extent she might have suspected or known. she says that it came as a complete shock to her. but -- well, the word complete. she remembered 1979 and apparently she discovered he hadn't stopped after all. so that's one of the mysteries that, you know, it can't -- not every question can be answered, not every mystery can be solved and that would be in her mind certainly as to what she knew, when she knew and the classic washington question. but we do know that she knew in
'79 that he was spying for the russians and beyond that there's no way to answer. >> do we know david or dr. charney whether or not she continues to visit her husband? they remain married i suppose? >> yes, i can answer that. she does visit her answer. she has visited him in the super max. and they are still married, as far as i know. and i think she's supportive of her husband and they have children. several children. and you can't wipe away a whole marriage and that whole family history because your husband is in the super max. so, yes, and i think -- i think she feels some obligation to help him see his ways at this point. i don't know. >> i suppose as an opus dei catholic she remains true to her marriage, to life do us part. but still, she's got to deal
with not only the spying, but the relationship with the south african -- with the stripper, and the videotaping of her relationships. we all have our challenges, i suppose. >> problems -- >> joy? >> okay. >> thanks. yes, mr. rochford, i'm very curious. for the analysts that put together this elaborate matrix of evidence or of clues i guess you'd say, to try to isolate access, why is it this entire matrix failed to point at any time to the fbi? >> don't forget, one of the two or three key elements of a 62-point matrix was the kgb reorganized director "k" which was their headquarters component
equivalent of the central intelligence centers, counterintelligence center. and they reorganized it based on this source's information and some regular weekly or -- meetings that this person was able to get to them about the early stages of cic. so that to us tells us who would have access to that? not hanssen. it doesn't make sense to us. all right? but again, did we misanalyze a piece of information and give it too much weight? yeah, i think that's probably what we did. you know? so that's -- that becomes a big
deal. >> question over here. >> if you're able to say, one aspect of this that has just always fascinated me is this tunnel. and if you're able to say was the bureau and if you're able to say, was the bureau ever able to assess sort of the counterdamage that was done by having the tunnel? not just the russians knew that the tunnel was there, but information that sort of was -- or disinformation that was fed back to the bureau, and what damage that might have caused. and if so, how long it took to overcome that? >> great question. but i'm not going to talk about any of that. >> as i said, if you could. >> i don't know anything about it. >> sir? >> good evening. very good presentation. i was a specialty with the
department of state for 30 years. prior to that, counterintelligence agent with the u.s. military. i have a question to ask. the fbi, i assume, does a routine update of investigations every five years. nobody noticed that he was spending money? i mean, the neighbors said he bought cars, brand-new cars, expensive ones. nobody looked at that? i mean, there were telltale signs along the way. >> so great question. >> how about a great answer? >> yeah. here's what happened on those cases, okay? i call them puffs of snow, that we should be looking at. should parking in a file that would be good fodder for the background investigators. and also, for adjudication on whether or not to take clearances away. at that time, the bureau's section for security, it was not
a division, if i remember correctly, to become a division until after the hanssen case. they didn't put into place an internal referral system from the office of security under the 811 mandate. they're mandates after the ames case. congress, i think it was hipsey, they decided that the fbi and cia was broken. and according to hipsey was not sharing with the bureau on a timely basis its suspicious feelings of activities of its employees that went to the heart of counterintelligence issues. thereby, giving the bureau fair
chance to find and detect and work with the victim agency early and often for uncovering of potential spies. so they superimposed on the entire community, after '94, the encumbrance that every member of the intelligence community will often and early communicate with the bureau on this anomalous activities. every agency had to tell the bureau this. the bureau had to track them. the bureau had to give the responses to these kinds of referrals, 811 referrals, to hipsey, on numbers and agency reports to us every february. okay. so guess what, the bureau didn't adhere to that, because they didn't look at it that way. after the hanssen case, now they've set up an internal mechanism to have referrals from security to the bureau.
and they would track such things. i mean, that's never going to happen again. look, you know, you learn the hard way, and it's a really good question. but, you know, the bureau's got scars and culpability for, you know, kind of not looking harder inside, in determining if it was hanssen. certainly if we had known he was xeroxing the debriefings in 1985, you know, with -- when they were told not to, we might have done something to look at that xerox machine and see if there was any other nefarious xeroxing by him. but it was one of those forgiveness attitudes. and the other things that he was doing, we didn't track. so shame on us. and we're better at it now. >> mike, one thing i was surprised to learn is, one, that neither the cia at that time nor
the fbi were examining packages that were being taken out by employees, by agents, and also, that robert hanssen in his entire career, until he was caught, was never polygraphed once. and that was just shocking to me. >> that's true. right. so now, every bureau agent is polygraphed upon employment, and then -- i think a five-year scope for repolygraphing. >> i would like to point out about the difference between ames and hanssen. hanssen was very frugal in spending his money. you might even say cheap. he didn't throw his money around. there's a big difference, and his car was not an expensive car. whereas aldridge james drove a jaguar every day into the cia parking lot.
no one raised an eyebrow about that. and ames bought his house, half a million dollar house with cash, and no one seemed to be too concerned about that until a woman who had worked with him did bring it to the attention of the authorities. so those are big differences. if you're looking for vulnerabilities, or the difference between those two spies were spending their money, it was very, very different. and hanssen was not a drunk. ames was a drunk. so you can't always just look for vulnerabilities and find your spy that way. i'm not in the business of fi finding spies. i leave that up to mike, who's very good at it. but there's no simple way to say, oh, well, this fellow's drinking, so he's got to be a spy. or this fellow is having an
extramarital affair, so he's got to be a spy. so it's a very tough business. and when you just look at the money, it wouldn't have helped very much in this case. >> one final question? let's end it right here. >> ron seccinger. i served on the hanssen damage assessment team. as part of that effort, i interviewed him twice in the super max in colorado. i found he was very valuable, because he was in solitary, so any visitor at all was a real change of pace for him. he talked. he certainly compartmentalized a lot. i wanted to mention his ability to rationalize was just breathtaking. he said, for example, in the course of human history, a little espionage doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
he said -- well, i forgot, there were a couple of other things that was also like that. but on the damage assessment team, we concluded that the main impetus for his espionage was the thrill of being a james bond. that it was mainly psychological. that needing money was kind of the trigger that started him down that road. but every day he could be at the fbi where his -- where the special agents treated him with contempt and he could always think, you don't know what i'm doing at night. >> thank you for those comments. we'll end it with that note. the story we've heard here tonight is just a part of american law enforcement's history. when the national law enforcement museum opens in the spring of 2016, we'll be telling visitors about this story and many others. this was a fascinating discussion tonight, gentlemen. and i want to thank our panel lists, retired special agent mike rochford, and renowned
author david wise for a very interesting discussion. thank you. [ applause ] this november 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of president kennedy's assassination in dallas. join "american history tv" on november 23rd and 24th for eyewitness accounts of the events surrounding that fall day in 1963. we'll air footage of the kennedy funeral and president lynn dan johnson's address to congress. watch ceremonies from dallas, and the jfk library in boston. and we'll take your phone calls. remembering jfk, 50 years after dallas, here on "american history tv" on c-span3. if you're a middle or high school student, c-span student video cam wants to know what is
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