Robert Hanssen fit the favored profile of J. Edgar Hoover’s idea of a G-Man:  a father of six, a devout Catholic, conservative, and a staunch anti-communist.  But sometimes things are not as they seem.  On a late afternoon in February agents followed Hanssen to a northern Virginia park.  He walked into the woods and placed a package under a bridge.  As he turned back to go to his car, agents yelled, “Freeze!  FBI!”  Hanssen was arrested on charges of espionage, and has allegedly been selling U.S. intelligence secrets to the Russians for 15 years.

What would cause a person to do such a thing?  Newsweek writer Evan Thomas surmises

The forces driving Hanssen were likely complex and possibly unknowable.He seems to have been on some kind of strange quest, lurching between religions and ideologies and careers without finding relief, except perhaps in the thrill of spying.  Still, it is possible, from the 100-page affidavit released by the FBI and interviews with his friends and colleagues, to begin to piece together clues to the puzzle, to gain the first insights into the twisted mind of a spy.  He is described by those who knew him — who readily acknowledge that he was hard to truly know — as a brooding, controlling figure, fascinated by secrecy and obsessed by purity.  He was, for much of his 56 years, a seeker of black-and-white certainty and higher truth who nonetheless plunged into the gray, morally compromised world of espionage.  He is, in a perverse way, Louis Freeh’s doppelganger, a would-be scourge of evil who ended up collaborating with the very demon he was trying to exorcise.

It is difficult to overcome feelings of revulsion toward those who sell out their country. More than two centuries after the fact the name Benedict Arnold still rubs against the grain.  Few miscreants are so universally loathed as are traitors.  Hanssen has not only done much damage to his country but has also brought incredible pain to his family.  His children are assuming the allegations against their father are true, according to sister-in-law Liz Rahimi.  She said, “They just think there was something wrong with their dad, and they didn’t know.”  Hanssen’s mother­ in-law added, “The family is devastated.  We don’t even know who he is.”

Can you imagine hearing a more devastating indictment?  To have your own family claim to not ever having really known you is numbing to anyone with a shred of conscience.  But the worst pronouncement imaginable will be that given at the judgment by Christ who will say to those who sold him out by their disobedience, “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matt. 7:23).  “I never knew you.“  All who refuse to obey the will of the Father will one day hear those terrible words, “I never knew you.”  May we live in such a way that we will never hear the Lord say those words to us.

 

 


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