FBI Agent Robert Philip Hanssen is shown in this undated file photo, released by the FBI February 20, 2001. (Photo courtesy of FBI/Newsmakers)
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of convicted spy Robert Hanssen.


Birth date: April 18, 1944

Death date: June 5, 2023

Birth place: Chicago, Illinois

Birth name: Robert Philip Hanssen

Father: Howard Hanssen, police officer

Mother: Vivian Hanssen

Marriage: Bernadette “Bonnie” (Wauck) Hanssen (August 10, 1968-present)

Children: Lisa, Greg, Mark, John “Jack,” Sue and Jane

Education: Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, A.B. in Chemistry, 1966; Attended Northwestern University Dental School, 1966-1968; Northwestern University, M.B.A. in Accounting and Information Systems, 1971

Other Facts

Hanssen received payments of $1.4 million in cash and diamonds from the information he gave the Soviet Union and Russia.

At least two movies have been made about Hanssen. A TV movie called “Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story” was released in 2002. A feature film called “Breach” was released in 2007.


1972 - Joins the Chicago Police Department.

January 12, 1976 - Joins the FBI as a special agent.

1979 - Begins spying for the Soviet Union.

1980 - Begins working for the counterintelligence unit, focusing on the Soviet Union.

1981 - Is assigned to the Intelligence Division at FBI headquarters in DC.

1981 - Hanssen’s wife catches him with classified documents and convinces him to stop spying.

October 4, 1985 - Resumes spying.

1991 - Breaks off relations with the KGB.

1999 - Resumes spying, this time for the Russian Intelligence agency.

2000 - The FBI identifies Hanssen from a fingerprint and from a tape recording supplied by a disgruntled Russian intelligence operative. The FBI also obtains the complete original KGB dossier on Hanssen.

December 2000 - The FBI begins surveillance of Hanssen.

January 12, 2001 - Hanssen is reassigned from counterintelligence to an obscure office at FBI headquarters.

February 18, 2001 - Is arrested in a Virginia park after making a drop of classified documents. Agents find a bag nearby containing $50,000 that they believe is Hanssen’s payment for the documents.

May 16, 2001 - Is indicted on 21 counts of spying for the Soviet Union/Russia and passing top secret material to the Soviet Union/Russia.

May 31, 2001 - Pleads not guilty to all charges.

July 6, 2001 - Pleads guilty to 15 counts of espionage and conspiracy in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.

May 10, 2002 - Is sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

June 5, 2023 - Passes away at the age of 79.