Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

A Misogynist

Hanssen was a misogynist of the first order. He generally distrusted women; for him they were objects to reform or mold into something that fit his view of the world. How else does one explain his altercation in 1993 with a blonde, 21-year-old secretary at FBI headquarters?

The administrative assistant, Kim Lichtenberg, was called into a meeting by Hanssen on February 5 without warning. The subject was petty and revolved around someone whispering to someone else that she was about to be fired. He thought that Litchenberg was the source of the rumors. Lichtenberg said she wasn't and the others in the meeting backed her up. Bickering on this matter continued for nearly 30 minutes until Litchenberg, noticing that it was almost time to catch her carpool, left the meeting abruptly and began securing her desk. While she was doing so, Hanssen came up behind her and pushed her to the floor.

"I'm your unit chief and you'll do what I say. I want you back in the meeting."

He began shaking her as she lay on the floor and then attempted to drag her back to his office. Lichtenberg called to a friend for help and then punched her boss in the chest until he let go.

"He twirled me around and I fell to the ground. He just dragged me along the ground back to his office," she said.

Lichtenberg checked herself into a hospital and was treated for bruises. The next day she went to the police, but the FBI told them it was an internal matter, and the case wasn't prosecuted. In the end, Hanssen was merely suspended for five days without pay for the assault. Lichtenberg claims that Hanssen would try to grab "a feel" with the women at FBI headquarters.

"I never had anyone make me feel like he made me feel," she said. "He was creepy. He tried to belittle women and would rub up against them just to get cheap thrills.

"Everyone knew Dr. Death was strange, but nobody ever did anything about him. He was always hacking into someone's computer hard drive and then pointing out how easy it was to get their classified information. I feel badly that nobody figured it out. There was a lot of reasons to look into Bob Hanssen," Lichtenberg said.

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