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Working for the worst spy in history

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By Carol A. Clark

ALBUQUERQUE — If money is the measure, convicted American spy Robert Hanssen didn’t make much during his 22-year spree trading secrets for cash – especially compared to the devastation he caused the government he was supposed to serve.

The disgraced agent received less than $1 million in cash and diamonds for supplying national defense and classified intelligence information to Russia for all but three of the 25 years he worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yet, his betrayal compromised at least 50 human resources and caused the deaths of three Russian intelligence officers, according to court documents.

During an interview in his Albuquerque office, Special Agent in Charge Thomas C. McClenaghan shared his experience working for Hanssen.

It was early 1992. McClenaghan was the supervisory special agent at FBI Headquarters in Division 5, which is the Foreign Counterintelligence Division in Washington, D.C.

“My boss ... had retired, so I was waiting for my new boss to show up,” he said. “At the time, I was the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program manager, which means I oversaw all of the FBI’s WMD cases in the nation. Hanssen had been the first WMD program manager in the bureau and he became my boss.”


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