SpyCast 11.7.23
Ep 610 | 11.7.23

“Agent of Betrayal, FBI Spy Robert Hanssen” – with CBS’ Major Garrett and Friends

Show Notes


Andrew leads a SPY Museum panel discussion between four experts on the most damaging mole in FBI history, Robert Hanssen. This program was in collaboration with CBS/Paramount on their new podcast “Agent of Betrayal"

What You’ll Learn


  • The story of Robert Hanssen
  • How his colleagues reacted to his betrayal
  • A psychological analysis of Hanssen 
  • How the Hanssen case has impacted the FBI and U.S. intelligence


  • Disillusionment and betrayal
  • “The child is father of the man”

And much, much more …

Episode Notes

This episode of SpyCast is a recording of a recent program held at the International Spy Museum in collaboration with our friends at CBS/Paramount. To accompany their new podcast, “Agent of Betrayal,” we hosted a panel of experts to discuss the story and historical significance of the Robert Hanssen case. They discuss how an FBI agent sworn to protect America’s most precious secrets instead became a damaging and deadly mole.

The panel features Major Garrett, host of Agent of Betrayal; Dr. David L. Charney, the psychiatrist who met with Hanssen for a year after he went to jail; Dr. John F. Fox, Jr., FBI historian; and David Major, retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent and Spy Museum Advisory Board Member who knew Hanssen as a colleague.


Robert Hanssen received at least $1.4 million from the Russians in exchange for American national security secrets. Pretty big pay day, but he’s beat out monetarily by Aldrich Ames, who made over $4 million spying for the Russians.

Quotes of the Week

“He used those insights and, again, the computer skills, he was able to move and navigate all through the very rudimentary FBI computer systems in ways that were without detection, so he had eyes on lots of things. And the thing he was most relentlessly curious about was anyone looking at him. And he had a way of knowing that at a level of confidence that allowed him to be as audacious as he was.” – Major Garrett. 




*Beginner Resources*



  • Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West, C. Walton (Simon & Schuster, 2023)
  • A Spy in Plain Sight: The Inside Story of the FBI and Robert Hanssen―America's Most Damaging Russian Spy, L. Wiehl (Pegasus Books, 2022) 
  • Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America, D. Wise (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2003)



Primary Sources 

*Wildcard Resource*

  • Live in the DMV and looking for a nice place for a hike?! Look no further than Foxstone Park, a 2-mile path through the wooded hills of Reston, VA. And the location of many of Hanssen’s dead drops he left for his Russian handlers.