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Gets the Word Out
on May 4, 2003
Post 9-11, how many people really know how deeply Robert Hanssen damaged national security? A recent dinner with several academics suggested, not a whole lot, if that sample counts in any way. Havill's book may not satisfy the connoisseurs of this niche of investigative journalism, but the book serves an important function; it exposes the depth of the betrayal and the nature of the agency that he ravaged. That system and the people who oversee it, have much to be ashamed of. The press has magnificently implied that the damage was minimal. The adopted supposition then by a large part of the citizenry was that it was "low level" information that he handed to the Russians. The press did a great job of keeping the public snookered. Havill does his darndest to refute that suggestion with the details of the top secrets that were handed over to the Russians.
As a psychological case study; Hanssen is the archetype of the Jungian shadow. The religious, dour and convinced patriot by day and the vulgar, ... depraved, traitor at night. Indeed Hanssen betrayed everyone, primarily his overworked and short-changed wife, but also his country, his church and of course, his employer. Why then, did people just fall for his act? They didn't according to the author; there were members of his own extended family, starting with his brother in law, a fellow agent and fellow employees who at least hinted at the deceptive and twisted nature of his allegiance or lack thereof.
How can we correct such ... neglect of self-policing in our governmental offices? Well, it will not be easy, if the educated voter and the concerned public is somehow "picking up" that the damage was superficial. There are, afterall too many government sponsored daily security news items to sift through and ponder. Havill's work needs to be read and if it is as a form of entertainment; which it can be, all the better!