Book Report: Espionage

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Espionage

If there is one name to describe the worst damage brought to the American FBI ever, it would be Robert Hanssen. He is the ultimate example to demonstrate that humans can make anti-state efforts despite great earnings simply because of their ego. David Wise covered the most astonishing story at the beginning of new millennium right after Robert Hanssen was found guilty for leaking secret information to the Soviet Union (Russia now). His dreadful activities led to execution of dozens of American spies in the Soviet Union by the KGB. It was a shock for the American officials in the FBI to know about the killings of their spies in the Soviet Union. It was a challenge for the agency and a big question mark on the effectiveness of the team. The senior executives at the section of the Soviet Counterintelligence found it alarmingly dangerous that there was a mole in the FBI who was leaking information to the worst enemy of the country (Wise 2). It was then in 1986 that a team was established to find the traitor and it was not until 2001 that the traitor was found.

After making a few efforts, the FBI could not find the mole but came to know that the CIA was facing same problems. More than 10 of their spies were caught and shot or imprisoned in Russia. Thus, the FBI decided to task special agents and professional analysts Bob King and Jim Milburn under supervision of a senior executive to conduct a mole hunt (3). Within no time the senior executive learnt everything about the mole but he was unable to communicate since he was hunting himself (Wise 4). It was his leading positions in the investigative teams that Hanssen was not identified earlier. He would remove any hurdles that could cause a problem for him and disclose his reality. With the passage of time, different teams were tasked to find the mole. However Hanssen remained the common figure in all teams. There were many other reasons too to doubt Hanssen.

Robert, a man who was hunting himself, also had a strange combination of habits. He was the friend of friends but traitor to the nation. Hanssen had a friend Jack who shared his habits that were literature, reading, philosophy and pornography! (3). A great contrast in the personality of Robert was his inclination towards religion and prayers despite the fact that he was fond of strip clubs too. While some would doubt his mental focus, they should never forget that Robert Hanssen was climbing up his career ladder in the FBI. Hanssen's pal, Hoschouer or Jack had a background of police and he had served in Germany as the Army attache. During this tenure, Jack had opportunities to meet with some Soviet officials. He was open to Hanssen, yet it never came to him that his closet and the dearest friend could be involved in anti-state intelligence activities.

Hanssen was trusted because of his pious outlook (he became Catholic after marriage at his wife's request) and was also considered reliable due to his intelligence. The people who knew him had the knowledge of his routines. He used to visit church weekly if not daily, and he also observed religion as a conservative person would. Spirituality was not a part time interest of Hanssen. He used to offer dedicated time to prayers and would often insist his friends to join him in the meetings of Opus Dei that was a very conservative cult (4). Giving pain to oneself was the part of practices of religion to which Hanssen was a strict follower. Pain was also something not new for him since he was exposed to unnecessary toughness since childhood.

Hanssen once shared a book with Jack The man who was Sunday. The book pictured a group of terrorists or anarchists lead by Sunday and his followers, code named from Monday to Saturday who were also detectives. Thus, Jack found that Hanssen liked the spying literature and that he was fascinated by the spy games. He liked stories where no one knows exactly about the other character till the end. Jack says that he understood very late why the book appealed his friend and what could Hanssen reflect while studying the book (Wise, 7). It is so astonishing to find that many times what a man seems is not his reality. In friendship, a man often ignores some serious indicators of evil in the personality of the friend. Later it was found that the name Sunday was much like the actual spy name of Hanssen. Childhood and youth fantasies seldom die!

Jack never doubted his friend even when Hanssen did not follow his normal routine of taking Coke with Jack while dropping him at the airport. The book covers the routine of caught-up day in detail. From where and when what happened, it mentions minute details. While Jack thought it was due to a family commitment that his friend did not accompany him for long, Hanssen was heading towards a secret spot to collect his 'reward' for identifying a mole in the Soviet intelligence and to identify the secret place for the sensitive documents (8). 'Ramon', the 'Sunday' or anarchist was horrible. He was a Russian spy who was working as Grayday and his actions and signals were responded by Moscow officials in no time.

Being the worst example of espionage in America, Hanssen delivered over 6000 classified document pages to USSR, and also received $1.4 million dollars and diamonds. The mode of handing over the classified documents were different and dumping them at specific places in garbage bags was one of them (95). Thus, he had found ways to deliver possibly any kind of sensitive data varying from CDs to disks and files classified as secret. Since Hanssen was a very senior official at the FBI, he had access to almost all the data that was particularly related to spying in the Soviet Union. The data he was particularly tasked to share was that related to U.S. spies and U.S. operations and installations in the U.S.A. And abroad. Since Hanssen used to deliver the data in garbage bags and not any technical or secure methods, he remained undercover for too long. While not productive, his technique was simple and 'effective'.

The day Hanssen was caught as the Russian spy; his mother Vivian Hassen was devastated. She was about to turn 90 and the news was a severe disappointment for her. She commented that her son's childhood was normal and she could never imagine to meet such a day finding her son as a spy (10). She however does agree that his father used to give him weird punishments in order to make him a tough boy. The father did not live to see the fruits his training brought, but the nation did suffer from his 'disciplinary training'. While Vivian narrated that her husband was a little tough, it was found that he was very abusive too. Charney was the lawyer Hanssen's wife Bonnie hired to defend the case, but he states that after hours of counseling, he found that behind this talented intelligent man, it was the abusive behavior of his father that had psychologically damaged him (15). What Charney discusses to deliberate the psychological health of Hanssen also explains his sexually disturbed orientation. His father used to have him sit in some strain full positions for hours to make him strong. But, the father was actually impatient with his boy. The punishments disturbed the mental and psychological health of Hanssen. He could never come out of pain of those punishments even though he used to discuss only pleasant memories of his father with his friends.

Jack, Hanssen's friend, recalls that Hanssen's father did not only give him humiliating punishments, but he would also damage his personality and confidence. It was too often that Hanssen's father told him that he would never be successful in his life. It was not punishment and scolding alone, but the negligence was also a main cause that ultimately resulted into one of the most messed up personality in the history of the nation. It was Hanssen's parenting in childhood that many psychologists find a leading cause behind his abnormal behavior i.e. being a spy of the enemy despite having a respectful status in the society.

It apparently seems that Hanssen was able to forget many, if not all, bad memories of his father. What he told his friends at later age were the stories of fishing and other entertaining activities with alone. He often told his friends that he tried to please his father by successfully attempting algebra questions (17). However, he was never disciplined enough to avoid too much dating, breaking traffic laws and speed racing. He was talented and he was undisciplined; a combination that eventually proved dreadfully damaging for the society. The talent he was given, he used only to have thrilling experience of being a spy. Hanssen's friends… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Espionage.  (2013, December 3).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/espionage-one/1794222

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"Espionage."  Essaytown.com.  December 3, 2013.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/espionage-one/1794222.