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- Spies in the suburbs: Inside the CIA's secret defector unit
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- The Amazing Story of the Russian Defector Who Changed his Mind
Havil notes in "The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold" that FBI director Louis Freeh, in a speech given just days after Hanssen's arrest, warned that "removing someone from a position based on a polygraph can ruin a career. Former co-workers recount his strange habit of flitting through the halls and insinuating himself into meetings and conversations where he had no business--trolling for information, as it turned out. In , he hacked into his boss's computer and printed out a classified document, ostensibly to demonstrate the porousness of the bureau's electronic security.
That the episode did not raise eyebrows is remarkable, especially in light of the strange incident a year later when Hanssen struck a female colleague who walked out of a meeting he was running. Hanssen was reprimanded and docked several days' pay, but the picture should have been clear of someone who was wound much too tight.
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Mark Wauck, a fellow FBI agent and Hanssen's own brother-in-law, advised his superiors in that Hanssen should be investigated, after the family discovered thousands of dollars in cash hidden in Hanssen's home. Nothing was done, and Hanssen went on to sell some of his most sensitive information to the Russians in the years to come. Depending on Hanssen as the sole provider for a family with six children, she was in a difficult position.
And she has rightfully come in for a great deal of pity with revelations about the vile ways that Hanssen betrayed her--posting nude pictures and pornographic stories about her on the Internet and inviting a friend to spy on the couple having sex. She has also resisted the temptation to abandon her husband and defend herself in the press. She swears never to divorce Hanssen, prays for him every day, and visits him in prison every week.
Spies in the suburbs: Inside the CIA's secret defector unit
But victim though she is, Bonnie Hanssen is not completely clear of complicity in her husband's destruction. She knew that something was wrong, and she chose to sublimate that knowledge, placing herself and her children at risk. Over time, Hanssen's behavior became increasingly bizarre. He demanded that Bonnie change his pillowcase every day and twice snuck up behind a sister-in-law who was feeding an infant to touch her exposed breast eventually, the woman refused to be alone with Hanssen. Bonnie was unaware Bob had posted explicit stories about her on the Internet, but she certainly knew Hanssen had sexual secrets.
Only days after their wedding, as Vise recounts in "The Bureau and the Mole," Bonnie received a phone call from an old girlfriend of Hanssen's, who "bluntly told Bonnie that she and Bob had just made love and that she was the one he really had wanted to marry. Even for devout Catholics who abhor divorce, a betrayal of this kind just days after the wedding would lead most women to walk out. But Bonnie hung on--although she would never trust her husband: Years later, after her children began interning at the FBI, she would grill them about Bob's secretaries, asking whether they were pretty and whether he flirted with them.
He admitted he had sold information to the Soviets, though he claimed it was worthless "trash for cash. Bonnie dragged Bob to confession with an Opus Dei priest, Father Robert Bucciarelli, who according to Bonnie's later testimony exhorted Hanssen to pray, made him promise never to do it again, and had him donate the money to charity. Many attacks have been made on Bucciarelli's penance. Shannon and Blackman even imply that Bucciarelli should have turned him over to the authorities, despite the well-known doctrine that Catholic priests cannot reveal the contents of the confessional, even under pain of death.
Still, it's true that the priest failed to exercise prudential judgment in the matter. Bucciarelli's answer--pray and donate the money to charity--is laughably naive. But if she and her husband got bad spiritual guidance from Bucciarelli, Bonnie Hanssen also failed to press the matter. It is too much to expect that any wife would turn in her husband.
But if anything pointed to the need for a separation of some sort, or at least a serious turn to counseling, confessed espionage would seem to be it. One of the duties of Catholic marriage is, after all, to help your spouse attain heaven. Yet Bonnie, the daughter of a psychiatrist who had worked as an asylum nurse, did nothing.
She continued to pretend that her husband's lapses were momentary, and that he was an essentially good man. She would pay a high price for that pretense over the years. By the time Hanssen was arrested, she needed a shot of NyQuil every night to get to sleep. Bonnie's first words upon hearing of his arrest are telling: "He did it, didn't he? Latin for "Work of God," and colloquially known to members as "The Work," the group is an organization of lay people founded in Madrid in by Monsignor Josemaria Escriva, who will be canonized a saint this summer.
Escriva's insight was that faith need not be divorced from everyday life, and that ordinary people living in the world have as compelling a call to sainthood as members of the clergy and can sanctify their daily life of work and family. The group sets a high standard, calling on members to pray and attend Mass daily and engage in spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In the United States, it runs a number of schools, after-school programs, youth camps, and inner-city programs, as well as about sixty centers where members come to receive spiritual training.
Opus Dei members who live at the centers are called "numeraries"--celibate, non-ordained men and women who usually have normal professional careers. Married members who live outside the centers, like the Hanssens, are called "supernumeraries. With perhaps eighty thousand adherents worldwide, it is a relatively small group, but its influence far outweighs its size.
Accusing Opus Dei of exercising a dark, behind-the-scenes influence within the Catholic Church, its opponents call the group secretive and cult-like. The ascetical practices endorsed by Opus Dei are particularly disturbing to secularists, for whom the idea of taming the body through mortification is completely foreign unless, of course, it involves gym membership and a Stairmaster. As it happens, the dark fantasies of Opus Dei's critics do not square with the actual lives of most members.
The idea that the group is a front for some sort of twisted, religious-fascist Spanish plot to seize control of society is laughable. Unable to draw any direct connection between Hanssen's membership in Opus Dei and his espionage, the spy's biographers resort to a kind of bait-and-switch: The worst accusations against The Work are presented with the implication that in some unspecified way Hanssen and Opus Dei were drawn to each other--like to like, the spy and the cult.
Adrian Havil, by far the most irresponsible of all the authors on the subject, even repeats the bizarre canard that the group assassinated the short-lived Pope John Paul I in order to elevate their man, John Paul II. A number of Opus Dei members, after Hanssen's arrest, proposed the simple answer that he used the group to distract attention from himself. Shannon and Blackman flirt with this idea, referring to Hanssen's religious life as "perfect cover" for his espionage. But almost everyone who knew Robert Hanssen testifies that he seemed sincere about his faith.
James Bamford, an investigative author who befriended Hanssen, once joined the spy at an Opus Dei meeting. Bamford later wrote in the New York Times, "Hanssen was in his element. He reveled in that close society of true believers like a fraternity brother exchanging a secret handshake. Even today, despite all the allegations against him, his faith seemed too sincere to be a ruse. Twice a month, members meet with a spiritual director to plot their "plan of life," a pattern of devotions, sacrifices, and spiritual activities.
The conversations are wide-ranging and extremely intimate. Frequent confession is encouraged, and members participate in a number of retreats and "circles"--classes on doctrinal and moral matters--every month. Informal social bonds reinforce this systematic closeness.
Members know each other, socialize together, and attend the same schools and churches. A child born into an Opus Dei family can move from play groups with children of other members, through Opus Dei schools, into a college that has an Opus Dei presence, and finally into activities for adult members, always nestled comfortably within the confines of The Work. To members of Opus Dei still smarting from the betrayal, it's comforting but too easy to think Hanssen was deceptive through and through. Compartmented and compromised as Hanssen's religious faith was, it was sincere on some level.
He undoubtedly misled his spiritual advisers much of the time. But he managed to exist within a close-knit, spiritually oriented organization for years without anyone realizing that he was mired deep in sins that were about to rip his family apart and send him to prison for the rest of his life.
AMONG Opus Dei members who knew Hanssen, the almost universal recollection is that he was a quiet, respectable man who rarely spoke and never attracted attention to himself. That is not how his colleagues at the FBI recall him. I'd answer neither.
I'd say insanely loyal. Take your pick. There is insanity in all the answers" - Robert Hanssen, aka Ramon Garcia. Simpson Tragedy. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Georgiana. They have two children. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description St. Martin's press, New York, Condition: nuovo. Seller Inventory ENG More information about this seller Contact this seller.
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The Amazing Story of the Russian Defector Who Changed his Mind
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