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FBI Agent Accused of Spying for the RussiansAired February 20, 2001 - 9:36 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: More now on our top story of the morning. A veteran FBI agent arrested today, accused of being a longtime spy for the Russians.
For more developments on the story, let's bring back Jeanne Meserve in Washington -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn, a lot of questions this morning about what might have motivated Robert Philip Hanssen to spy for the Russians and the Soviets for as much as 15 years. FBI officials now saying that he was paid substantial amounts of money.
Neighbors in Vienna, Virginia, the Washington suburb where he lived with his wife and six children, described him as living within his means. The family drove a 10- to 12-year-old van, we're told, and went to church every Sunday.
He was arrested Sunday night after allegedly making a dead drop at a park in northern Virginia. What this means is he was leaving classified information at a predesignated spot for Russian officials to then pick up.
National security correspondent David Ensor has been following this case for us.
David, what source of adjectives are government officials using this morning to describe the kind of damage they think Hanssen may have done?
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, words like "substantial," "extensive." We'll be hearing quite a few of more adjectives, I think, from the FBI director and the others at the news conference later this morning. But they believe the damage is serious.
MESERVE: As work -- as someone who worked in counterintelligence, what sorts of information might he have had access to and might he have passed on?
ENSOR: Tremendously useful to have someone in counterintelligence for the opposite side. Here's a man who's job was to try to catch Russian spies. That was his American job. That means he knew where the spies were, he knew which ones they were in the Russian embassy. And he was in a position to tell the Russians, how is the U.S. monitoring you? When do they bug you? When do they watch you? What are the windows of opportunity that might be there for you to continue with your espionage activities without being monitored by the United States? So tremendously useful.
MESERVE: What's the possible interface with the Aldrich Ames case?
ENSOR: The possible interface is that more than 10 people were executed as a result of Aldrich Ames. It could well be that this man offered corroboration, sort of second source to the Russians so that they knew who to kill.
MESERVE: David Ensor, thank you.
David and all our correspondents following this very carefully this morning. We'll bring you the latest. Daryn, right now back to you.
KAGAN: Jeanne and David, thank you very much.
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