‘Fascinating and Repulsive’: Major Garrett Breaks Down His Podcast On The Most Destructive Spy in US History

Main Garrett, the chief Washington correspondent for CBS Information and creator and host of The TakeOut podcast, appeared on this week’s episode of The Interview for a chat with myself and Mediaite editor Aidan McLaughlin — concerning the chaos within the Home, the media and Trump, and his fascinating new podcast.

Agent of Betrayal, Garrett’s new podcast sequence for CBS Information, tells the story of an FBI agent, Robert Hanssen, who was thought-about one of the damaging covert operatives in U.S. historical past.

The end result of two years of reporting, Agent of Betrayal is an 8-hour restricted sequence concerning the former FBI agent, who was secretly working for the Kremlin throughout the Chilly Conflict.

Hanssen’s espionage, as Garrett experiences, “triggered the execution of no less than three people and value lots of of tens of millions of {dollars} of harm to the USA Intelligence Program.”

However individuals who knew him personally stated he was as “common as pie,” a “stable citizen.”

“He was in each method a contradictory human being,” Garrett advised Mediaite. “I’ve by no means encountered, studied, researched, somebody who was as diseased, and common, and routine a liar as Robert Hanssen.”

Garrett stated that Hanssen began working for Soviets in 1979 whereas on the FBI, the place he served for a complete of 25 years. He was what was thought-about a “walk-in” which implies somebody who is just not actively recruited by the FBI.

“Through the Chilly Conflict, the Soviets and the USA have been engaged each day in attempting to recruit individuals on the opposite aspect to get them to inform them secrets and techniques concerning the different aspect. So we have been continually attempting to recruit Soviets. Soviets have been continually attempting to recruit People to offer them little bits of knowledge to create some stage of benefit or equalize issues between the superpowers on this huge world competitors. Robert Hanssen simply walked within the door of a recognized place in New York the place Soviets have been, and since he was an FBI agent and it paid consideration to the dialog within the workplaces he labored in in New York, he knew that was a great place to search out Soviets.”

In accordance with Garrrett, Hanssen was a strolling contradiction – on the one hand, the daddy of a pious household, on the opposite a deceitful spy buying and selling harmful secrets and techniques to the threatening adversary of the USA.

“He went to mass each single day, talked about how a lot he hated communists and communists on a regular basis, talked about how a lot he believed in regulation and order in America, how a lot he beloved his household. All of those outward projections of patriotism, anti-communism, Catholicism, ethical uprightness,” Garrett stated. “Each step of the best way, projecting all of this stuff. He was doing the precise reverse. That to me was each fascinating and repulsive and one thing I simply couldn’t cease wanting into as soon as the hook obtained him.”

Garrett spoke with greater than fifty individuals who knew Hanssen to try to know the deeply difficult man who died of colon most cancers in 2023 whereas in jail.

One nice thriller stays: why did Robert Hanssen do it? Garrett makes an attempt to shut in on the reply in his new sequence.

“Did Robert Hanssen, at numerous levels of his FBI profession, really feel he was underappreciated and bureaucratically ignored? Sure, he did. Was he additionally promoted? Sure, he was. Was he thought-about in some respects, a fairly good FBI particular agent? Sure, he was. So did he get hassled and shunted off to horrible locations and never get good promotions? No, he obtained good assignments and good promotions. However however, he nursed a sort of resentment that the FBI didn’t do this quicker or transfer him increased. So resentment is a element of it.”

However Garrett advised Mediaite “resentment” was solely a part of Hanssen’s motive. Cash too was a contributing issue, nevertheless greater than monetary achieve it was a way of self-entitlement and large ego that drove Hanssen.

“Is cash an element? Sure. Decisive? No. He obtained about $600,000 over the course of his aspect hustle spying profession,” Garrett stated. “In comparison with the worth of the secrets and techniques he gave the Soviets and the Russians, he may have made a lot, far more. Tens of millions upon tens of millions of {dollars} if he had requested for it. However he didn’t.”

Garrett’s podcast Agent of Betrayal is out there now on Apple Podcasts. Watch Mediaite’s full interview right here. Subscribe to The Interview on Youtube, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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