- The Washington Times - Friday, April 5, 2002

Confessed Russian spy Robert P. Hanssen's unauthorized use of FBI computers to obtain confidential information on Hillary Rodham Clinton, her daughter, Chelsea, and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh was never detected by FBI internal security officials, an investigation says.
A 13-month probe into FBI security problems by a seven-member commission, headed by former CIA and FBI Director William H. Webster, said Hanssen, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent, gained entry to computers on more than 20 occasions for information on the first lady, Chelsea Clinton and Mr. Freeh.
The commission's 107-page report, released yesterday, said Hanssen ran searches with the names "Hillary Rodham Clinton," "Hillary" and "Chelsea," along with at least one on Mr. Freeh. The report said had FBI security officials been aware of these searches, "it seems likely" they would have found this activity "peculiar" and it would have received "close scrutiny."
The report also said Hanssen searched for documents containing his name, spelled several different ways, his home address, names of agents in FBI espionage squads, code names of espionage investigations, counterintelligence restricted cases and terms such as "espionage."
Those searches, the report said, were aimed at determining if resources had been allocated to surveil the locations he used as drops for secret information. Those searches, had they been detected, should have alerted FBI security officials to his misconduct, the report said.
It was not clear what information Hanssen sought or retrieved concerning Mrs. Clinton, her daughter or Mr. Freeh, but the report concluded that FBI security officials should have detected the unauthorized searches.
The report, delivered to Attorney General John Ashcroft, said FBI senior executives paid little attention to significant deficiencies in the bureau's internal security system, and that FBI executives hampered by a fragmented and uncoordinated internal security system failed to correct long-standing security problems.
The commission documented extensive FBI technology and management problems that led to internal security breakdowns. It also concluded that FBI executives gave low priority to security matters, that the bureau was using outdated computers, networks and encryption standards, and that, as a result, morale among rank-and-file agents was low and dropping.
It also said security training at the FBI was almost nonexistent, and agents usually adopted security duties as additional assignments.
Hanssen's January 2001 arrest as a spy exposed extensive weaknesses in the FBI's internal security system, including document-handling procedures and a policy of not requiring regular polygraph tests for agents like Hanssen involved in high-profile national security cases.
His arrest in a Virginia park, where he was dropping off information for his Russian handlers, led to the creation of the Webster commission.
"Regrettably, the report by the Webster commission demonstrates how a trusted insider, through repeated acts of betrayal and treachery over more than 20 years, was able to exploit deficiencies in FBI internal security systems and procedures to cause grievous harm to the national security of the United States," said Mr. Ashcroft.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, who has created a new security division to review bureau security deficiencies, said he was "confident we are on track" to making changes.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the report "a wake-up call not only for the FBI, but for other federal agencies" who have failed to safeguard their internal security systems.
The commission said Hanssen was proficient in combing through the FBI's automated records system, and that he had downloaded "reams" of classified information to disks. It also said he collected the information unchallenged as a senior agent and retrieved data from computers at offices where he did not work.
Karen Dunn, spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton, now the junior Democratic senator from New York, did not return calls for comment. Mr. Freeh also was unavailable.
Hanssen pleaded guilty in July to 13 counts of espionage against the United States, one count of conspiracy and one count of attempted espionage dating back more than 20 years. He was accused of spying for Russia and the Soviet Union. The government dropped six counts and waived the death penalty in return for his cooperation in assessing the damage he caused.
He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for May.

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