Spy Robert Hanssen found dead in his prison cell

Tribune Content Agency

Convicted spy Robert Hanssen was reportedly found dead in his prison cell Monday.

The 78-year-old the FBI called “the most damaging spy in Bureau history” was serving a life sentence in ADX prison in Florence, Colorado.

“Staff requested emergency medical services and life-saving efforts continued,” Bureau of Prisons Director of Communications Kristie Breshears said in a statement first reported by CBS News. “The inmate was subsequently pronounced dead by outside emergency medical personnel.”

His cause of death is unclear.

The 25-year FBI veteran was arrested in Virginia in 2001 after investigators learned he also worked for the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. The counterintelligence expert was apprehended while attempting to deliver classified information to his foreign contacts in a park outside Washington, D.C. According to the FBI, that was similar to tasks Hanssen performed successfully untold times dating back to 1985. He used the alias “Ramon.”

The FBI said that by February 2001, roughly 300 agents were assigned to rooting out Hanssen. Feds said Hanssen was preparing to retire when investigators closed in on him.

He subsidized his FBI income by at least $1.4 million through treachery. The disgraced agent pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage on July 6, 2001, but not before exploiting his unfettered access to classified information including nuclear secrets and the betrayal of double agents aiding the U.S.

Hanssen spent several years of his career based in New York City. The married father of six was a Chicago native who studied at Northwestern University. A neighbor in Virginia claimed the spy’s wife taught religion classes in Vienna, Virginia. According to the FBI, Hanssen was making $105,000 annually at the time of his arrest.

BOP officials haven’t returned a New York Daily News request for comment. The FBI referred inquiries to prison representatives.