Chapter 4: What Took You So Long?

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Chapter 4: What Took You So Long?

Some say it was the worst intelligence disaster in US History.[i] At the time of his arrest on February 18, 2001, in Vienna, Virginia, “Ramon,” age fifty-six, was observed clandestinely placing a package of highly classified information for pick up by his Russian handlers at a prearranged “dead drop” site at Foxstone Park, one mile from his Vienna, Virginia, home.[ii] In exchange for the information he provided the KGB, his Russian handlers gave him two Rolex watches and paid him cash and diamonds in excess of $600,000 over a nearly twenty-year period.[iii] Additionally, they placed funds in an escrow account in Moscow that were allegedly valued at or above $800,000.[iv] As fellow FBI agents were arresting him, he simply said, “What took you so long?”[v]

On July 6, 2001, Robert Philip Hanssen pled guilty to fifteen counts of espionage in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and was sent to prison without the possibility of parole.[vi] Hansen currently resides at ADX Supermax in Florence, Colorado—the same maximum security prison that holds 9-11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.[vii]


[i]. United States Department of Justice, A Review of FBI Security Programs (Webster Report), Commission for Review of FBI Security Programs, 2002, 1.

[ii]. FBI National Press Office. “Robert Hanssen,” FBI, 20 Feb. 2001, www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/robert-hanssen.

[iii]. United States Department of Justice, US v. Robert Philip Hanssen, Indictment, Federation of American Scientists,May 17, 2001, fas.org/irp/ops/ci/ hanssen_indict.html.

[iv]. United States Department of Justice, “Affidavit in Robert Hanssen Spy Case,” FBI, Feb. 20, 2001,www.fbi.gov/file-repository/hanssen-affidavit.pdf/view.

[v]. Elizabeth Nix, “Robert Hanssen American Traitor: On May 10, 2002, former FBI Agent Robert Hanssen was Sentenced to Life in Prison for Selling US Secrets to Moscow,” History (Apr. 10, 2019), www.history.com/news/robert-hanssen-american-traitor.

[vi]. FBI National Press Office, “Robert Hanssen,” FBI, Feb. 20, 2001, www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/robert-hanssen.

[vii]. Eli Hager, “My Life in the Supermax,”The Marshall Project, Jan. 8, 2016, www.themarshallproject.org/2016/01/08/my-life-in-the-supermax.

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