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The former FBI agent, who served as a spy for Moscow during the Soviet Union, dies in prison

The former FBI agent, who served as a spy for Moscow during the Soviet Union,


Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who received more than $1.4 million in cash and diamonds to trade secrets with Moscow in one of the most notorious espionage cases in American history, died Monday in prison .

Hanssen, 79, was found unresponsive in his cell at a federal prison in Florence, Colorado, and later pronounced dead, prison officials said. He is believed to have died of natural causes, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the details of Hanssen's death and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hanssen had disclosed a wealth of information about US intelligence gathering, including extensive details of how US officials had been eavesdropping on Russian espionage operations since at least 1985.

He was believed to be partially responsible for the deaths of at least three Soviet officers working for US intelligence and executed after being exposed.

He received more than $1.4 million in cash, bank funds, diamonds and Rolex watches in exchange for providing highly classified national security information to the Soviet Union and later Russia.

He did not adopt an obviously lavish lifestyle, instead living in a modest suburban home in Virginia with his family of six children and driving a Taurus and minivan.

Hanssen would later say that he was motivated by money rather than ideology, but a letter written to his Soviet handlers in 1985 explains that a large reward could have caused complications because he could not spend it without sparking warning bells.

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