The Hanssen Case: The FBI Spycatcher’s Encounter with a Master Spy

…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media. Spycatcher’s Perspective on Robert Hanssen’s Downfall


Eric O’Neill, the FBI “spycatcher” who aided in the conviction of Robert Hanssen, a notorious traitor, reflects on their collaboration.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, O’Neill discusses Hanssen’s suspicions and describes him as a narcissist with a volatile temper.

This article explores O’Neill’s experiences working with Hanssen and sheds light on the motivations behind Hanssen’s betrayal.

Hanssen’s Suspicions and O’Neill’s Mission

O’Neill, a young recruit, was assigned to spy on Hanssen in 2001, shortly before the latter’s retirement.

Hanssen became wary when he was reassigned from a liaison job to a cybersecurity role, with O’Neill as his sole colleague.


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O’Neill acknowledges Hanssen’s skepticism but emphasizes his own responsibility to avoid any missteps while gathering evidence.

Challenges of Working with Hanssen

O’Neill recounts the difficulties he faced in leading a double life, working alongside Hanssen while also working to expose him.

He describes Hanssen as verbally abusive, noting his narcissism, inflated ego, and short temper.

O’Neill believes that Hanssen’s financial struggles, coupled with his desire for a more thrilling field operative role, drove him to sell secrets to the Russians.

Hanssen’s Motivations and Secret Life

Hanssen’s discontent with his job and desire for a more exciting career led him to betray his country.

O’Neill suggests that Hanssen’s low pay at the FBI and the financial burden of supporting his large family were contributing factors.


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Furthermore, Hanssen’s deviant sexual behaviors, including inviting friends to observe him having sex with his wife and engaging with strippers, revealed a troubled psyche.

Unveiling Hanssen’s Espionage and Aftermath

O’Neill closely observed Hanssen, suspecting that vital information might be stored on his PalmPilot device.

O’Neill devised a plan where Hanssen would be lured away, leaving his PalmPilot behind for examination.

When confronted with the evidence, Hanssen’s arrest became inevitable.

The revelation of Hanssen’s espionage prompted the implementation of stricter security measures and financial disclosures within the FBI.

Reflections on Hanssen’s Death

Upon learning of Hanssen’s death, O’Neill expressed regret at not having the opportunity to confront him one last time.


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O’Neill believes that Hanssen’s desire for recognition and the thrill of espionage motivated his actions.

Despite his crimes, Hanssen influenced O’Neill’s life, prompting him to contemplate the motivations behind such betrayal.


The demise of Robert Hanssen, a traitor who sold secrets to Russia, marks the end of a significant chapter in Eric O’Neill’s life.

O’Neill’s insights into Hanssen’s suspicious nature, motivations, and abusive behavior shed light on the complex character of a man who caused one of the most significant intelligence breaches in U.S. history.


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