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Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI's…

Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America (2002)

by David Wise

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I love true spy stories and this is one of the best. Well written with just the right amount of detail. Reads like a thriller. Worth a detour. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Jul 29, 2012 |
This book details the life of Soviet/Russian spy Hanssen and the efforts to find the identity of several intelligence/national security leaks and the possibility of high level penetration. The B Kelley charade is covered as an honest mistake. L. Freeh is given blame by innuendo. Wise provides very good context, but very little scrutiny.
  sacredheart25 | Apr 14, 2012 |
This is a very revealing book on Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who spied on the US for the Russians for over 20 years before he was finally caught. If you saw the movie "Breach" with Ryan Phillipe and Chris Cooper, this is a much more in-depth view of the incident, though, interestingly, Eric O'Neill (Phillipe's character) is never mentioned.

"Spy" provides a solid look at Hanssen's upbringing and early marriage, and shows how there were several times he might have been caught, but wasn't - usually due to someone finding evidence that might be incriminating, but not presenting it because they either believed Hanssen wasn't the type of person to spy (he was very staunchly Catholic, appeared to live by what might be called "old-fashioned" mores, and often espoused strongly conservative values,) or because after discovering what Hanssen was up to, he promised them he wouldn't do it again.

It also details how he accomplished his spying, and the impact his activities had - from the deaths of a number of Soviet officials who had been turning over information on the USSR's, to giving the Soviet Union our "continuity of government" plan, which details not only who will be in charge of what in case of emergency (and who takes over for whom if someone is killed - all the way up to the President) but also the locations where important government officials were to be held (e.g. Dick Cheney's infamous "undisclosed location.")

David Wise is a well-respected author on topics of espionage and, in addition to an engrossing story, he provides a number of footnotes, offering notes to help clarify situations, terminology, apparent questions about dates, and the some of what happens in the book had on the wider national and world stages. He also provides copious references to back up the information he provides.

Wise is also the author of [book: Nightmover: How Aldrich Ames Sold the CIA to the KGB for $4.6 Million], about the Ames, who - until Hanssen was caught, was considered the worst traitor in American history. "Nightmover" was written well before Hanssen's treachery was uncovered, and reading both of them provides an even deeper understanding of what the world was like - and how governments reacted - during the cold war. When I read them, I read "Spy" first and then "Nightmover" and I found that doing so put a kind of interesting twist on things. I would read about questions that had arisen during the Ames investigation which hadn't been satisfactorily answered, but were somewhat set aside either as dead ends or dismissed as likely being the result of some of the vagueness that is a natural part of the espionage business.

Many of these questions would be answered years later when Robert Hanssen was captured and it was made clear that both Ames *and* Hanssen had been, separately, working for the Soviet. The fact that the USSR had control of both of them at the same time was a significant advantage to them - the would often get the same information from both men, which was a pretty strong indicator that the information was, in fact, accurate - coming as it did from two different agencies who rarely cooperated, and could hardly be expected to be working on a coordinated effort to use disinformation to the Soviets in order to flush the spies out of hiding.

If you are at all a fan of real-life spy stories, then this is one to get!
( )
1 vote thorswitch | Jul 17, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375758941, Paperback)

Spy tells, for the first time, the full, authoritative story of how FBI agent Robert Hanssen, code name grayday, spied for Russia for twenty-two years in what has been called the “worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history”–and how he was finally caught in an incredible gambit by U.S. intelligence.

David Wise, the nation’s leading espionage writer, has called on his unique knowledge and unrivaled intelligence sources to write the definitive, inside story of how Robert Hanssen betrayed his country, and why.

Spy at last reveals the mind and motives of a man who was a walking paradox: FBI counterspy, KGB mole, devout Catholic, obsessed pornographer who secretly televised himself and his wife having sex so that his best friend could watch, defender of family values, fantasy James Bond who took a stripper to Hong Kong and carried a machine gun in his car trunk.

Brimming with startling new details sure to make headlines, Spy discloses:

-the previously untold story of how the FBI got the actual file on Robert Hanssen out of KGB headquarters in Moscow for $7 million in an unprecedented operation that ended in Hanssen’s arrest.

-how for three years, the FBI pursued a CIA officer, code name gray deceiver, in the mistaken belief that he was the mole they were seeking inside U.S. intelligence. The innocent officer was accused as a spy and suspended by the CIA for nearly two years.

-why Hanssen spied, based on exclusive interviews with Dr. David L. Charney, the psychiatrist who met with Hanssen in his jail cell more than thirty times. Hanssen, in an extraordinary arrangement, authorized Charney to talk to the author.

-the full story of Robert Hanssen’s bizarre sex life, including the hidden video camera he set up in his bedroom and how he plotted to drug his wife, Bonnie, so that his best friend could father her child.

- how Hanssen and the CIA’s Aldrich Ames betrayed three Russians secretly spying for the FBI–including tophat, a Soviet general–who were then executed by Moscow.

-that after Hanssen was already working for the KGB, he directed a study of moles in the FBI when–as he alone knew–he was the mole.

Robert Hanssen betrayed the FBI. He betrayed his country. He betrayed his wife. He betrayed his children. He betrayed his best friend, offering him up to the KGB. He betrayed his God. Most of all, he betrayed himself. Only David Wise could tell the astonishing, full story, and he does so, in masterly style, in Spy.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:10 -0400)

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