Press Release of Intelligence Committee


The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Voted Today to Begin a Formal Investigation of the Robert Philip Hanssen Espionage Case

Created date

Wednesday, March 07, 2001


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Richard C. Shelby [R-Ala.], Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator Bob Graham [D-Fla.], Vice Chairman of the Committee, announced today that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence authorized a formal investigation into the Robert Philip Hanssen espionage case. Under Committee rules, a formal investigation must be sanctioned by the members of the committee.

Immediately after Hanssen's arrest the Committee began an informal inquiry. Last week, the Committee, in its first hearing on the Hanssen case, heard testimony from Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Louis Freeh, and Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby said, "Directors Freeh and Tenet have confirmed the tremendous gravity of the Robert Philip Hanssen case. Not only did Hanssen allegedly contribute to the death or imprisonment of human intelligence sources, he also allegedly betrayed some of the nation's most valuable and sensitive technical programs." "We intend to conduct a thorough examination of this entire case. The Committee will investigate a broad range of issues including: the nature and extent of his alleged espionage activities, the damage to national security, whether the FBI Counterintelligence officials may have missed warning signals pointing to a possible penetration, whether tighter FBI internal security procedures within the National Security Division might have curtailed or ended Hanssen's alleged espionage, FBI response to previous espionage cases, and other questions."

Committee Vice Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL) said "Counterintelligence is a core matter that falls squarely within the Committee's oversight responsibilities. We want to understand what is wrong with the U.S. counterintelligence apparatus that someone could have had access to such a broad range of sensitive programs and could compromise those programs successfully over at least a 15 year period of time. The investigation that the Committee approved today is designed to examine closely these difficult issues. The answers to the many questions we will be asking may well have an impact on our budget authorization and legislative initiatives in the 107th Congress."

Based on its findings, the Committee may recommend changes in FBI internal procedures, review existing proposals for counterintelligence reform, reallocate intelligence budget funds, or amend the espionage statutes or other laws.