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CNN Today

FBI Agents Discover Payments Received by Hanssen

Aired February 20, 2001 - 4:05 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We get more on this story involved in this through CNN Justice correspondent Kelli Arena, who is outside of FBI headquarters in Washington -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the FBI said that Robert Phillip Hanssen has been under surveillance since last fall. The FBI says it knew that he was expected to make a drop at a park just outside of Washington, that he did, indeed, make a drop in the wooded area and then was immediately apprehended. FBI agents who arrested him say that he appeared both surprised and very shocked that he was found out.

FBI agents also recovered $50,000 in cash at another drop site in which they say was they think was intended as a payment for Hanssen for the classified information that he had intended to send to Russia. The FBI says that it has not done a formal assessment of the damaged caused by Hanssen and described it as "exceptionally grave."

Now, according to the affidavit that was filed today, Hanssen sent 26 computer diskettes to the Russians. He sent 6,000 pages of documents; 22 packages. President Bush had this to say about today's events while aboard Air Force One.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Allegations of espionage are a reminder that we live in a dangerous world, a world that sometimes does not share American values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: FBI director Louis Freeh has asked for an outside review of FBI security measures. That review would be headed up by judge William Webster, who is a former FBI and CIA director. But according to Freeh, even the best security measures are not fail-safe -- he says it comes down to a basic matter of trust.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOUIS FREEH, FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI entrusted him with some of the most sensitive matters and the U.S. government relied upon him for his service and his integrity. He has, as charged, abused and betrayed that trust. The crimes alleged are an affront not only to his fellow FBI employees but to the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Hanssen allegedly received $1.4 million for his efforts, both in cash and diamonds, but it's not clear whether money was indeed the motivation. Although, nothing else was stated at the FBI news room earlier today on exactly what his motivation may have been. Hanssen does face life in prison, although the prosecutors who will be trying the case here would not comment on whether or not the death penalty is applicable in this case -- Joie.

CHEN: Kelli Arena reporting to us from FBI headquarters outside Washington.

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