Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

Inside Robert Hanssen's Weird World

Hanssen betrayed not only his country and his wife and children, but himself. Toward the end he would spend hours in his basement cruising Internet porn sites, even posting masturbatory fantasies online and using the real name of his wife and friends.

He later became friends with a stripper who became addicted to cocaine, but he believed he was absolved since no sex ever took place. To him she was a Bond girl come to life on the arm of a real 007.

British Prime Minister Gladstone
British Prime Minister Gladstone

The 19th-century British Prime Minister William Gladstone liked to walk the streets of London after dark and seek out prostitutes to reclaim for Christ. Hanssen tried to do the same with his stripper, Priscilla Sue Galey. They met in a seedy strip club in Washington called Johanna's in early 1990.

Galey's trick was to stride on stage looking like a librarian, wearing unflattering glasses, a starched blouse and a gray pin-striped skirt. But as soon as the spotlight shone on her, she tore that clothing off, then bumped and grinded for 15 minutes while the business executives stared, slack-jawed. Hanssen sent her a note with his FBI business card, a $10 bill and a request for lunch after taking in her act.

"He was dressed in a dark suit, not a hair out of place, not a piece of lint, not a wrinkle," Galey recalled. "I was a little afraid of him at first."

Within days Hanssen was giving her stacks of the KGB's $100 bills. The first  $2,000 went to getting her teeth fixed. Then he gave her an American Express card, which he paid. Just before Christmas, he gave her a diamond and sapphire gold necklace. After that came a slightly used silver-gray Mercedes even while wife Bonnie still drove an old minivan.

"When you drive up in a Mercedes, they don't ask you if you've been to college," was her admirer's reasoning.

"I thought he was my personal angel," remembered Galey.

At one point Bob asked the stripper to guess how much he had spent on her. When she said $50,000, he immediately corrected her and told her it was more like $80,000.

Still, according to Galey, no sex of any kind ever took place though she was more than willing. Rather, she said, he tried to get her to attend church. The closest they came to a liaison was when he took her on a two-week trip to Hong Kong. Even then, he insisted on separate rooms and different flights, but one night in a hotel bar, Galey coaxed him to dance with her. The music they waltzed to was As Time Goes By, the anthem for the ultimate film of espionage, Casablanca.

"She would ask him about where he got all that money," her mother, Linda Harris, said. "He would always laugh and say, 'I could tell you but then I would have to kill you.' Priscilla kept trying to advance the relationship, but when she tried to reach out to him, he would push her back and tell her he was a family man."

The relationship fell apart after two years when a former lover talked Galey into returning to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. There, she became addicted to crack cocaine and began using the American Express card to buy cartons of cigarettes for herself and clothing for relatives. Hanssen took umbrage at the extra spending and personally drove from Washington to Ohio to snatch the card away. A year later when Galey was arrested on drug charges, Hanssen wouldn't help in any way when she phoned him.

He said that Priscilla had made her bed and now she had to lay in it," her mother remembered. "It was like she never existed."

The years that followed were not good. Galey began working as a prostitute to pay for her crack habit and wound up in a squalid group house. She wrecked the Mercedes, pawned the jewelry and a laptop computer Hanssen had given her and in 1999 spent a year in an Ohio prison for "complicity to aggravated trafficking," when she assisted a drug kingpin. By 2000, she was trading sexual favors for drugs and on one morning, after a night-long binge, she lost the upper plate of false teeth that Hanssen had given her.

After reading of Hanssen's arrest for espionage, Galey said she believed that Hanssen may have wanted to use her in his spying activities. "He had to have wanted me for something," she said. "I trusted him completely, and if he had asked me to do anything, I would have."

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