Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Philip Hanssen: The Spy who Stayed out in the Cold

James Bond Meets Natalie Wood

Bob Hanssen eventually rejected the psychiatry profession. Although he had given up on three careers, he persevered, returning to Northwestern where he eventually got an MBA degree in accounting. Perhaps he had no choicehe was in love and the soon-to-be spy was married, with a child on the way.

Bernadette "Bonnie" Wauck was as different from Bob Hanssen as day is from night. She was one of eight; he was an only child. She was Catholic; he was Lutheran. His father was a cop; her father was a University professor. She lived in upscale Park Ridge, just outside the Chicago city limits. Norwood Park, three train stops away, was working class. And Bonnie was also a member of Opus Dei, an organization that required going to mass daily and confession weekly.

Bob and Bonnie were married on August 10, 1968.  By the time Howard Hanssen retired in 1972, Bob was ready to fill his father's shoes. He entered the Chicago Police Department as a rookie three months after his father retired and moved, with Hanssen's mother, to a modest subdivision house just south of Sarasota, Florida. With an MBA degree, Hanssen was a marked man and was soon pulled out of his training class and asked if he would like to be in a new secret unit called C-5. Bob leaped at the chance.

The special elite corps had been set up to infiltrate its own kind. Cops were taking bribes from drug dealers and then looking the other way. Bob's unit's job was to bust fellow officers.

John Clarke, his boss, soon began to believe that Hanssen was a double agent working inside the unit.

"He was brilliant and he looked like an altar boy," Clarke remembered. "But I always thought he was a spy, a counterspy, when he worked for us. I thought he was working for the police brass who wanted to know what we were doing. I always felt something was wrong, so we held Hanssen on a short leash. At one point I thought he might be working for the Feds because he was so inquisitive about Mayor Daley."

Later Clarke gave his theory of how Bob Hanssen came to use the alias of Ramon Garcia. "I told him the story of an Irish kid from Rhode Island. I had hired him as an undercover agent to infiltrate the Mexican mafia. His code name was Ramon."

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