Russians Wanted Ex-FBI Agent Robert Hanssen in a Spy Swap, Book Said

By Allan Lengel

Just how much did the Russians value American turncoats Aldrich Ames and ex-FBI agent Robert Hanssen?

Well, according to a new book by Ronald Kessler, “The Secrets of the FBI”, the Russians tried swapping Hansen and Ames with the U.S. in a spy swap shortly after the FBI arrested 10 Russian spies in June 2010.

The book said CIA Director Leon Panetta called his counterpart, Mikhail Fradkov, the head of the Russian intel service (SVR), to propose a spy swap.

The two worked out a deal in the course of a week. However, the U.S. firmly rejected the idea of swapping Hanssen and Aldrich, the book reported.

FBI agent Hanssen, now 67, spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services from 1979 to 2001. He is currently serving a life sentence at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Administrative Maximum facility in Florence, Colo.

Ames, 70, a former Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence officer and analyst, was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia in 1994. He is currently serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Allenwood, Pa.


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