SPY: The Inside Story of How the FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America

David Wise, PH.D., Author . Random $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-375-50745-8

Four previous books have attempted to unravel the mystery of how and why FBI staffer Robert Hanssen was able to sell secrets to the KGB for almost 22 years. None, however, have been as penetrating as this account by veteran spy author Wise (The Invisible Government), whom Hanssen himself reportedly called "the best espionage writer around." Using a career's worth of contacts in the FBI and CIA, as well as exclusive access to Hanssen's defense psychiatrist, Wise presents a comprehensive portrait of Hanssen's life as a spy and the government's quest to uncover and prosecute him. Further, Wise reveals that the FBI's problems with internal traitors began as far back as 1962, with a tip from a KGB informant; that mole was never found. Years later, the FBI identified another internal spy, but bungled its surveillance; that spy was quietly "eased out" of the bureau and the entire affair kept out of the newspapers. And in the Hanssen case, a certain CIA agent was wrongly identified as the mole and suspended from duty for almost two years. By contextualizing Hanssen and providing an insider's account of the hunt that finally apprehended him, Wise covers aspects of the case that have been largely neglected to date. Well researched and ably written, this book is, so far, the definitive account of Hanssen's betrayal of the United States. (On sale Oct. 22)

Forecast: It would be all too easy for readers to confuse David Wise with David Vise, author of the bestselling The Bureau and the Mole—hopefully, reviews and bookstore displays will distinguish the two.

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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