What even John LeCarre could not dream up

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sun Feb 25 08:19:54 MST 2001


NY Times, February 25, 2001

U.S. Charges Pose Paradox of Pious Spy for Godless Foe

By PHILIP SHENON

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24  — For a man accused of betraying his country to the
godless leadership of the Soviet Communist Party, Robert Philip Hanssen
could not have seemed a more devout follower of the Roman Catholic Church —
or a more committed anti-Communist.

He often told his friends in the counterintelligence division of the
F.B.I., where he worked for most of his 25-year career with the bureau,
that he loathed Communism and that the teachings of Lenin were incompatible
with those of Jesus Christ.

"Bob would walk into my office and tell me that without religion, man is
lost," said his former F.B.I. supervisor, David Major, "and that the Soviet
Union would ultimately fail because it was run by the godless Communists.
And I believe he was sincere."

The bureau's former chief China analyst, Paul D. Moore, recalled that when
F.B.I. agents held going-away parties at strip clubs near the bureau's
headquarters in Washington, Mr. Hanssen refused to attend, saying his faith
would not permit it.

"He said, you shouldn't do that because it's an occasion of sin," said Mr.
Moore, who used to car-pool to work with Mr. Hanssen, a friend of 20 years.

He recalled Mr. Hanssen's snapping off the car radio one day during a
talk-show conversation about morality — and whether morality was based on
social contracts.

"He leaned over and turned off the radio and said, `That's enough of that,'
" Mr. Moore said. "He said the foundation for morality is not an implied
social contract; it's God's law."

If Mr. Hanssen's piety and staunch anti-Communism were simply a front for
his treachery, if they were a cover for a long career in espionage, they
were remarkably convincing to the professional spy catchers who worked day
in and day out with the shy, socially awkward, highly intelligent agent.

Full story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/25/national/25SPY.html


Louis Proyect
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