Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spies in Northern Virginia

Robert Hanssen

Excerpted from: The Hidden History of Northern Virginia

Not surprisingly, the Washington D.C. area was a hotbed of spy vs. spy activity during the Cold War. Two of the most notorious traitors emerging from the Cold War era were native born Americans living in Northern Virignia. Aldridge Ames, a CIA employee became the best paid traitor in American history by selling secrets to the Soviets for some five million dollars in the late 1980s. This information resulted in the deaths of ten counter-intelligence agents working for the United States. Colleagues became suspicious when Ames began living a lavish lifestyle far beyond his apparent means, at one point paying cash for an expensive home in Arlington. Ames was arrested in 1994, and is serving a life sentence without parole. Even more notorious was Robert Philip Hanssen, an FBI agent who spied for the Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for over twenty-two years. Hanssen’s activities have been characterized as, “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history”. Hanssen was arrested February 18, 2001 at Foxstone Park (a favorite secret drop off point for the spy) near his home in Vienna, Virginia. Hanssen is serving a life sentence without parole.

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