A Traitor On Tape

Robert Philip Hanssen, FBI agent accused of spying for Moscow for more than 15 years and giving the KGB the names of three Russian intelligence agents working for the United States in exchange for cash and diamonds. AP

On May 10, 2002, the curtain came down on Robert Hanssen, a career FBI agent who was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for espionage against the United States.

In surveillance video obtained exclusively by CBS News, Correspondent Jim Stewart describes Hanssen's last moments of freedom before the feds move in.

The date is Feb. 18, 2001, and the man in this grainy video is FBI agent Robert Hanssen. He has just dropped off a batch of stolen U.S. documents for Russian agents ... and is on his way now to pick up their $50,000 payoff. What he doesn't know is that he's being watched by dozens of his fellow FBI agents.

For a split second ... Hanssen is alone in the picture, but clearly sees what's approaching. Then they're on him. One agent shoves Hanssen while others grasp his arms. Machine guns are trained on his chest as agents begin to handcuff him. One agent seizes what appears to be Hanssen's FBI badge and throws it to the ground. They spread his legs and seem to be barking orders.

The camera, operated by undercover surveillance agents, gyrates to catch the caravan of FBI cars that converge on the scene. Hanssen is finally marched away. The look on his face is unreadable.

He is wearing the same clothes that night when he is booked on espionage charges.

It was a stunning embarrassment for the bureau. Hanssen had spent most of his 25 year career in counter-intelligence ... the spy masquerading as spy-catcher.

In court the government filed affidavits saying Hanssen handed over 6,000 secret documents to Moscow in exchange for $1.4 million in cash, diamonds and escrowed money in an espionage career that spanned 15 years.

But in the end the government wanted his cooperation more than his life. Prosecutors dropped the death penalty. Hanssen agreed to talk. He is currently serving a life sentence at this maximum security prison in Florence, Colo.

Agents even know now what was on his mind that winter day in the park last year. Hanssen was certain he was being followed, certain that his colleagues were closing in. So certain that he had a plan. Hidden in his briefcase that day was an up to date Swiss bank account statement and his U.S. passport.
  • Francie Grace

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