Agent of Betrayal: The Double Life of Robert Hanssen

CBS News


Amid the nuclear threat of the Cold War, America's prized secrets were falling into the hands of its sworn enemy. The FBI's hunt for the leak led to an astonishing discovery—the mole was one of its own, special agent Robert Hanssen. For two decades, Hanssen masqueraded as a devoted patriot while ruthlessly selling out his country, trading classified intelligence to the Soviet Union and later Russia, in exchange for cash and diamonds. He was a whirlwind of contradictions—a self-proclaimed patriot and a traitor; a family man who sexually betrayed his wife; an ardent man of God and a sinner. Through interviews with Hanssen’s family, friends, and colleagues, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett (Host of “The Takeout”) delves into the double life of Robert Hanssen and unravels the chilling truth about the most damaging spy in FBI history in “Agent of Betrayal: The Double Life of Robert Hanssen”.

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55 episodes


On February 18, 2001, Robert Hanssen’s career as an FBI agent came to an end. His next tour of duty would be served in the federal penal system as inmate #48551-083. Supermax, the notorious Colorado prison housing terrorists and drug lords, would become his home for two decades. Life in prison also means death in prison. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Nov 16
Room 9930

Once the FBI zeroed in on Robert Hanssen as a suspect, the bureau set up an elaborate sting operation to catch him in the act. A fake promotion, a bugged office, and a daring mission led to an opportunity to finally catch Hanssen red-handed. For 22 years, Hanssen had beaten the FBI at its own game. Now the FBI was ready to strike back. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Nov 09
The Art Dealer

A Russian businessman arrived in New York in mid-2000, eager to export art to the United States. His counterpart in the deal, an American, appeared ready to do business, too. But neither man was exactly who they purported to be. Their encounter may have been just the break FBI mole hunters were looking for. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Nov 02
Wrong Man

The intelligence community knew it had a mole problem. It couldn’t account for lost assets and blown operations. So the FBI and CIA set out on another mole hunt – and this time, there was one suspect who fit better than the rest. He was a career CIA officer who had been around important cases that went sideways. The FBI tailed him for two years and then squeezed him and his family for almost two more. Just one problem: he wasn’t the mole. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Oct 26
Plain Sight

How did the FBI allow a spy to operate in its midst for more than 20 years and do such devastating damage? Robert Hanssen’s tradecraft was good, but far from perfect. In fact, the FBI missed several chances to nab him. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Oct 19

Priscilla Sue Galey was a dancer at a strip club about a 15 minute walk from the White House. Robert Hanssen told her that he'd never seen such grace and beauty. He gave her sapphires and diamonds, a Mercedes, a trip around the world. But what did Hanssen want in return? Even more surprising than an FBI agent’s emotional affair with a dancer: the voyeurism in Hanssen's bedroom at home. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Oct 12
Ramon Garcia

1985 was “The Year of the Spy.” The FBI arrested a raft of traitors spying for the USSR and other foreign governments. But that didn’t stop Robert Hanssen - or his KGB alias “Ramon Garcia.” Hanssen had developed an obsession with espionage and the result would be deadly. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Oct 05
The Spy Next Door

Robert Hanssen lived in suburbia with six kids and his wife Bonnie. They had a dog, a nice house and went to church on Sundays. Outwardly, it appeared to be an ordinary life. And for the most part, it was. Until Hanssen, an FBI special agent, turned and offered his services to the Soviets. Drop us a line: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Sep 28
Coming Soon - Agent of Betrayal: The Double Life of Robert Hanssen

Robert Hanssen was a conundrum - an FBI agent and self-proclaimed patriot who became the most damaging spy in the bureau's history. Amid the nuclear threat of the Cold War, America's prized secrets were falling into the hands of its sworn enemy—the Kremlin. The FBI's hunt for the leak led to an astonishing discovery—the mole was one of its own. In this 8-episode limited series, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett delves into the life of Robert Hanssen and unravels the chilling - and deadly - truth about his many contradictions. Listen to Agent of Betrayal: The Double Life of Robert Hanssen starting September 28th, wherever you get your podcasts. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Sep 21
Wondery Presents: Over My Dead Body: Gone Hunting

When Mike Williams vanishes on a hunting trip, the authorities suspect he was eaten by alligators but the true predators who took Mike may lurk much closer to home. The mystery of Mike’s disappearance might have faded from memory, if it wasn’t for one woman’s tireless crusade. From Wondery, comes a new season of Over My Dead Body; a story about an obsessive love affair, a scandalous secret and a mother’s battle for the truth. Listen to Over My Dead Body: See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Aug 21
Introducing Missing Justice

Christy Woodenthigh’s family rushed to her home on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation when they got the shocking news that the 33-year-old mother was dead. They arrived to find no police officers, no approaching sirens, and no sign of Christy. ”Missing Justice”, a new 6-episode limited series hosted by CBS News reporters Cara Korte and Bo Erickson, takes you inside what really happened that night and how the issues in Christy’s case connect to the larger Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Crisis. Missing Justice premieres on November 22nd wherever you get your podcasts. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Nov 22, 2022
Watergate: High Crimes in the White House

In this CBS News audio special, 60 Minutes presenter Lesley Stahl and Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein relive how their revelations exposed Nixon’s abuse of presidential power. CBS News is revealing the archives covering the break-in at the Watergate Hotel to mark the 50th anniversary of the Watergate scandal. Hear rare outtakes, exclusive archival interviews, and new firsthand accounts from both the Nixon administration as well as those who investigated the groundbreaking crime. Watergate: High Crimes in the White House is now available to stream on Paramount+. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

1h 27m
Jun 18, 2022
Honoring Memorial Day with Steve Hartman

For the 3rd year in a row, CBS is kicking off a nationwide initiative commemorating Memorial Day – inviting buglers, trumpeters, and other musicians across the country to honor our fallen soldiers by playing Taps during the National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm local time. Enjoy this special bonus episode featuring an interview by CBS’s Lezli Young with Steve Hartman (CBS Evening News). See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

May 30, 2022
20 Years Later: Major's Experience Covering the 9/11 Attacks

In this mini-Debrief episode, Major reflects on his experience covering the September 11th, 2001 attacks as a member of President George W. Bush's travelling press pool, and the impact of 9/11 on American society and politics. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Sep 08, 2021
Inside the Beltway

Washington, D.C. has a language all its own. Words that mean something here in the nation's capital mean something completely different or nothing at all everywhere else.  We're talking about sequestration and reconciliation, fiscal cliffs and super-secret SCIFs. Even SALT, COLA and iced tea - things normally found in your kitchen - have alternate definitions in the federal city.  It's the accumulated language of legislating and regulating, the vernacular of those in power.   There's also another language native to Washington, D.C., a city with vibrant culture, history and diversity. Ordinary Washingtonians living just blocks from these centers of federal power speak it fluently. So get cised, Moe, and gavel in the season one finale of , featuring Dave Dildine of WTOP Radio, Alexandra Petri of , D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, co-author of Chuck McCutcheon and Grammy-nominated artist and DC-native Kokayi. A note to our audience: will return with new episodes this fall. We thank you for listening and can't wait to bring you season two. is produced by Jamie Benson, Sara Cook, Arden Farhi, Jake Rosen and Ellee Watson.

May 11, 2021
2020 Vision: 1945

Without question, 2020 was a remarkable and remarkably miserable year for so many. It had a little bit of everything: disease, fire, political upheaval, social unrest, economic devastation. Oh, and murder hornets. More than 340,000 Americans died from covid-19. Unemployment reached nearly 15% and hunger in America surged.  But there's another year in relatively recent human history that surpassed the suffering and significance of 2020.   1945. Between April and October that year, an American president died, the US dropped two nuclear bombs, a world war ended, the United Nations was founded and George Orwell published Animal Farm.  And in the 5 other months that year, 75,000 Americans perished in the Battle of the Bulge. Auschwitz was liberated. US forces took Iwo Jima. The Nuremberg trials began. And the first computational computer came online.  Major Garrett looks back at 1945, a year that devastated and shaped the world.  Interviews with historians and authors Jay Winik, A.J. Baime and Michael Kimmage, director of the Harry Truman Library, Kurt Graham, and director of the Franklin Roosevelt Library, Paul Sparrow.

May 04, 2021
The First 100 Days

100 days is an unusual unit of measurement for anything. Normally, we'd just say "about three months." Is there anything besides a president's time in office we measure in 100-day increments? Candidates make pledges for steps they will take once in office during that timeframe. Pundits, political scientists, and historians count the bills signed, executive orders issued, promises kept and promises broken in those first few months.  First coined by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "the first 100 days" have been used as a yardstick for all presidents since. They are a lens through which we measure a president's style, the success of their transition, the mettle of their leadership, and their sway over Congress. As we approach President Biden's 100th day in office this week, Major Garrett examines the beginning of Biden's administration -- his handling of compounding pandemic, economic, climate, and immigration crises, the legislative battles waged in Congress, and executive actions uprooting the policies of his predecessor. Major also embarks on a historical comparison of this benchmark for all modern presidents since FDR. Joining us this week: Dr. Barbara Perry, Director Director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, and CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Nancy Cordes.

Apr 27, 2021
The Climate Crisis Part 2: Our People

Even climate change skeptics agree global temperatures have risen and ice sheets are melting in the arctic and Antarctic. But they disagree that weather patterns are becoming more extreme and downplay the role of human activity on our warming planet. As Earth Day approaches, the second episode of our two-part series examines the impact of climate change not only on the planet but on people, and the debate over what to do about it.  This week, Major Garrett speaks with experts in national security, the automotive industry, and climate research.

Apr 20, 2021
The Climate Crisis Part 1: Our Planet

The Earth is changing at a faster pace than at any point in the history of human civilization. Industrialization and increased carbon emissions have caused the global temperature to rise by over a degree Celsius since the turn of the last century. This seemingly small increase has had a massive impact. Melting ice sheets are causing sea levels to rise. The oceans are warming due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent. Species are dying at record rates. This may sound dire -- and the calls for greater immediate action are growing louder. But there's cause for hope. In part one of our two-part series, Major speaks with climate experts, policymakers, and advocates who see the climate crisis as a unique opportunity for equality and a greener and more prosperous future.

Apr 13, 2021
Compensation: The NCAA's Big Dance

As the NCAA's March Madness ends, athletes for both men's and women's basketball teams face the harsh reality that has plagued student-athletes for years: their sweat, tears, and hard work draw millions of viewers, and millions more in revenue for the NCAA, television networks, and universities, but no money for themselves or their teammates.  The Supreme Court is taking a new look at the NCAA's amateurism rules and should have a ruling by summer, but as state legislatures move to create a more equitable system for college athletes the NCAA finds itself in a bind.  Major Garrett dives into the steep racial and gender inequalities within the NCAA's current system, growing calls for change regarding compensation, and what the future could look like for collegiate athletes.

Apr 06, 2021
Our Vote

Last week, Georgia's Republican governor signed into law sweeping changes to the state's voting procedures. The legislation, which passed with only Republican support, mandates photo ID for mail-in ballots, trims the window for requesting an absentee ballot and places new restrictions on ballot drop boxes, among other provisions.  Iowa also adopted more restrictive voting laws earlier this month. Instead of 29 days to vote early in person, voters will now have 20 days, and polls will close an hour earlier. The changes to voting laws, led by Republican governors and GOP-controlled state legislatures, come in the wake of the so-called "Big Lie" -- that the election was rigged, Donald Trump actually won, and was fraudulently denied a second term.  And yet, 2020 was arguably the most successful election in history. Never before has an election been more secure or had more people participate. Not to mention it was conducted amid a global pandemic.  This week, Major Garrett looks at the state of voting rights in 2021. What's changed since the November election? Have we made it easier or harder to vote and why? And what changes could be coming?

Mar 30, 2021
The Pandemic and Paper

We wanted to mark the one-year anniversary of pandemic lockdown without doing a year-from-hell retrospective. So we decided to explore a relationship to something that might embody how the pandemic has changed our habits and led us back to some old ones.  Perhaps no relationship with any common object has changed as much as it has with paper. Think about it. We're using less at work and more at home. Our screen-weary eyes long for printed books and puzzles.  We're writing more letters. Many of us voted at home with mail-in ballots. Those Amazon boxes are piling up and our consumption of disinfectant wipes and paper towels has skyrocketed.   And who can forget the great toilet paper shortage of 2020? This week, Major Garrett marks one year of the pandemic and paper.

Mar 23, 2021
Children at the Border

The new administration is grappling with a decades-old problem: how to deal with the surge of migrants at the southern border. With President Biden’s new policy of not turning away unaccompanied minors, the number of children arriving at the border has rapidly increased, up nearly 30% in the last week alone.  Over 4,200 children are currently being held in overcrowded Customs and Border Protection facilities, and nearly 3,000 have been in CBP custody for longer than the 72 hours required by law.  Some children in these jail-like facilities meant for adults have described being hungry, taking turns sleeping on the floor, showering once in 7 days, and not seeing the sun.  Coronavirus precautions in Health & Human Services shelters, which provide medical services, educational resources, and counseling, mean fewer available beds – leaving officials scrambling to find space for unaccompanied minors.  This week, Major explores the influx of migrant children arriving at the border – what is driving them here, the conditions they face along the perilous journey, what awaits them once they arrive, and the Biden administration’s response to this humanitarian crisis.

Mar 16, 2021
$2 Trillion For What?

A trillion of anything is hard to fathom. It's a million millions. Or a thousand billions.  Now double it.  This week, the House of Representatives is expected to pass the nearly $2 trillion COVID relief package and a signature from President Biden will make it law. The legislation will send money just about everywhere - to families struggling to get by, to states and cities where tax revenue has fallen, to restaurants and to the unemployed.  The White House is calling it the most progressive bill ever passed because it will also provide money for Obamacare premiums, tax credits for parents, money to fight hunger and funding for schools for years. Republicans have called the bill "wasteful," "bloated," and a "slush fund." None are expected to support it, which would make this the only pandemic relief package to pass without bipartisan support. Major Garrett digs into the politics and process of passing the American Rescue Plan, and attempts to answer the titular question: $2 Trillion for what?

Mar 09, 2021
Ghost Kitchens

Little by little the restaurant industry has begun to creep back to life. At the low point of the pandemic-induced recession, more than half of the industry's 15 million employees were out of work, a haunting statistic. Roughly 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed temporarily or for good.  We all hate to lose our neighborhood favorites. But maybe during the pandemic you also found a brand new pizza joint that takes orders and delivers via app.  Now what if that pizza place wasn't really a place at all? This week Major digs into ghost kitchens, pop-ups and other food-industry innovations spurred on by the pandemic. Join us for a most delicious ghost story, if you dare.

Mar 02, 2021
Virus of Hate

As if the coronavirus pandemic hasn't wrought enough anguish on our country, there's a disturbing viral side effect that has no vaccine cure or therapeutic treatment. Americans are being attacked by other Americans. They're being beaten, spat upon, yelled at, shunned and hounded with racial slurs. Some have died, others have been hospitalized.  The victims: Asian Americans. Their crime: the way they look. Roughly 3000 incidents of hate against Asian Americans have been recorded since the pandemic reached full bore last March, according to one group that tracks these cases. And those are just the incidents victims reported.  This week, Major Garrett explores what's behind the surge in anti-Asian racism, what can be done about it, and the long history of prejudice against these ethnic groups in the United States.  Major speaks with pro basketball player Jeremy Lin, US Congressman Ted Lieu, CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang, and others who have experienced this discrimination firsthand.  For more on this topic, visit:

Feb 23, 2021
The Big Lie Meets the Big I

For the second time in just over a year, the Senate elected to acquit Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, this time over his role inciting the lethal January 6th melee at the Capitol.  The vote was the most bipartisan exercise of its kind. Seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats and independents to convict the former president. The outcome, though never seriously in doubt, provided a view into the future of the Republican Party. Yes, Donald Trump's relentlessly loyal base still has a grip on the GOP, but a small yet significant faction is ready to move on.  Even Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell - in words - laid blame at Mr. Trump's feet for provoking the January 6th riot. In deed, McConnell voted not guilty, showing that breaking up with the president and his followers is hard to do.  Major Garrett looks back at the week that was in Washington and what it means for history and the future. 

Feb 16, 2021
Disinformation: Part 2

While we were putting this episode together, we quickly realized the vast, convoluted scope of QAnon, its tantalizing effect its followers and the bit players who conspired to propagate the lie were bigger and more twisted than we'd imagined. QAnon, we learned, is many things to many people.  So we decided to focus on a question we kept encountering: what to do about the untold legions who have fallen for QAnon's intoxicating allure. Could they be disabused of their beliefs and brought back to the mainstream? There is a temptation to lash out at these destructive - and so obviously false - conspiracy theories and the violence they helped unleash upon the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. But the wiser course, experts told us, is to walk toward QAnon believers with compassion and empathy.  In this episode, Major meets Jitarth Jadeja, a thirty something Australian who spent two years locked in QAnon's vice grip. When he emerged, chastened and deeply shamed, Jadeja made it his mission to help pull others out of the rabbit hole.

Feb 09, 2021
Disinformation: Part 1

If your friend tells you it's going to rain tomorrow, and it turns out to be sunny, that's misinformation. Your friend was misinformed or the forecast changed. But if your friend tells you it's going to rain lizards, that is disinformation. And disinformation – deliberate falsehoods spread to mislead the public – has never been more prevalent.  The 2016 election was marred by a hostile foreign actor engaged in a coordinated disinformation campaign. In 2020, homegrown disinformation - amplified by the highest levels of government - permeated social media and contributed to one of the most shameful episodes in US history: the deadly assault on the US Capitol. In part one of this two-part series, Major Garrett explores disinformation: what it is, how it spreads, what’s being done to stop it.

Feb 02, 2021
Vaccination Nation

In a feat of human achievement, vaccine developers cracked COVID-19's scientific code in less than a year, testing and developing a shot that has so far proven effective against the deadly infection. What's proving difficult now is getting that vaccine out of manufacturing facilities and into Americans' arms.  President Trump's Operation Warp Speed placed the onus on states and localities to figure out distribution. The Biden administration wants to the federal government to take a greater role in administering 100 million vaccines in 100 days. By springtime, anyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get one, the president said Monday. Major Garrett explores the obstacles to mass vaccination, why some states are doing better than others and whether the Biden administration's goals are achievable.

Jan 26, 2021