The national security community - and especially the federal Bureau of Investigation - is reeling in the wake of the arrest of alleged master spy Robert P. Hanssen. The 25-year FBI counterintelligence veteran, who began spying for the Soviet Communists and later for the "democratic" Russians, was caught red-handed Sunday passing secrets in a Virginia park.
FBI Director Louis Freeh says the intelligence losses appear "exceptionally grave." If it's true, Hanssen ought to be tried, convicted and then lined up against a wall and shot. Aside from passing untold classified documents, he allegedly exposed two Russians working for our side during the Cold War - and the Soviets naturally executed them.
What motivates treason? Money? Ideology? It's complicated but, in a letter to his Russian handlers, the diabolically clever Hanssen said he was encouraged by the memoirs of the notorious British-Soviet double agent Kim Philby. "I decided on this course when I was 14 years old," the letter stated. "I had read Philby's book."
Obviously, security measures need to be tightened within the FBI. A good first step toward reform will be an internal review by respected Judge William Webster, a former FBI and CIA director.