Robert Hanssen and the NewnMeaning of TreasonnA year ago, Robert Philip Hanssen apparentlynfelt the need to explain to the Rnssiansnhis motives for supplying them withnthousands of top-secret U.S. intelligencendocuments over the preceding decadenand a half The veteran FBI agent wrotenthem a letter, confessing that he is neitherninsanely brave, nor merely insane,nbut “insanely loyal” to his adolescent idealnof becoming “a new Kim Philby.”nA degenerate, Stalin-worshipping Britishntraitor, boozing his fugitive days awaynin a Moscow apartment block, seems annodd choice of a role model for an Americannteenager. But to spend the next 40plusnyears acting out the fantasy, undetectednand unsuspected —and then tonconfess it all to his invisible foreign contacts—isnridiculous. It sounds like a jokenan overconfident Mr. Hanssen wanted tonplay on his paymasters. Hanssen appearsnto have been primarily loyal to his wallet—tonthe tune of $1.5 million in used,nsmall notes and precious stones, spreadnover 15 years.nIn return, this counterintelligence specialist—whosenjob was to keep an eye onnthe KGB in America —provided topqualit)’ngoods. Just for starters, he idenhfiednthree Russians working from the Sovietnembassy in Washington, D.C., whonhad been recruited as double agents bynthe United States.nNews reports invariably referred tonHanssen as a “spy.” They are wrong: Henis a traitor. A spy is an American stealingnRussian secrets or a Russian stealingnAmerican ones. Rudolph Abel and Gar}’nPowers were spies; tiie Rosenbergs, AlgernHiss, Aldrich Ames, and Hanssen werennot.nThe fact that the networks and bigndailies avoided the word “treason” is notnsurprising: It is a word inseparable fromnnotions of honor, patriotism, loyalt}’, andnother reactionar}’ leftovers from pre-postmodernntimes. Even FBI director LouisnFreeh made the curious remark thatnHanssen’s conduct “represents the mostntraitorous actions imaginable against ancountry governed by the rule of law.”nDid he mean that, in a countr’ governednby the rule of a dictator, such actionsnThe American Interestnhy Srdja Trifkovicnwould not have been so “traitorous”?nEspionage, the second-oldest profession,nshares some basics with the oldest:ndeception and duplicity. Both call fornsimilar talents, and top spies, like topnprostitutes, may enjoy the aura of glamourntinged with danger. In certain temperamentalnt)’pes, both callings evoke ansomewhat perverse excitement. Bothnspies and whores can be perfectly usefulnmembers of their societies — somewhatndisrespeetable, perhaps, but necessarynnevertheless.nTreason, on the other hand, is morenakin to adultery. Both involve betrayalnand abuse of trust; unlike some adulterers,nhowever, traitors are beyond redemption.nSome apologists for Jonathan Pollardnsuggest that “treason” applies only tonhelping an enemy in time of war, not ton”illegally helping an ally in peacetime.”nThis is the same as saying that an occasionalntryst with one’s sister-in-law doesnnot really count as “adulter)’.” A countr}’nthat grants you the rights and privileges ofncitizenship also has an exclusive claim tonyour allegiance. This claim is doubled innthe case of a Klaus Fuchs, who asked fornand was given refuge from persecution bynanother government.nAll traitors are bad, but not all arenequal. As Rebecca West noted in ThenNew Meaning of Treason (1964), the assortednwould-be Quislings of World WarnII were at least open enemies of liberalndemocracy. Leon Degrelle, Anton Mussert,nor Leo Amer)’ were loath to burrownquietly into strategic spots so as to underminentheir host societv’ while professingnallegiance to it. William Joyce, tlie Reich’snEnglish radio voice, thought that Britainnwas right—albeit mistaken — to hangnhim. An RAF officer who had helpedn”Lord Haw-Haw” with his scripts (andngot ten years for his efforts) burst out indignandy:n”This just shows how rottennthis democratic country is! The Germansnwould have had the honesty tonshoot me!”nCommunist traitors, by contrast, werensustained by their “ideology” of selfhatrednmasquerading as dialectical materialism.nIn England, they enjoyed a fieldnday from the late 1930’s on, leaving a putridntrail that spanned five decades. Theirnelevated milieu, savoir-faire, and privilegednstatus (Anthony Blunt), couplednnnwith their access to strategic informationnand personnel (Philby), made them trulynlethal to the prospects for Britain’s moralnrecovery. Money was neither here nornthere. The inherentiy corrupt nature ofnthe game itself served as a self-justifyingnmicrocosm of the society at large: manipulative,nmaterialistic, depressingly sterile.nThe reward of betrayal was in the act itself,nin the quiet superiority’ of graspingnthe uselessness and absurdity of it all,nwhile persevering in the act until thenend.nAldrich Ames’s stated explanation (“itnwas all a game an)’way”) ostensibly correspondednto this model, but with him andnHanssen, we see a new type altogether.nThe contemporar}’ American traitor doesnnot even pretend that he cares aboutnideas. “Exploitable weaknesses” thatnused to set off alarms with seasoned CIAnand FBI campus recruiters are pervasive.nToday, they would have to include thenvery fact of coming of age under BillnClinton or attending public schools.nAs the American nation is reduced bynits rulers to an ever more diverse “proposition,”nthere is precious little anchoragenfor loyalt)’ and honor —let alone readinessnto make a supreme sacrifice. “Incouldn’t do that” increasingly begs thenquestion, “Wiy not?” Wliy not sell neutron-bombnblueprints to Osama binnLaden if Clinton didn’t mind the Chinesengetting them? Why not transact anlittle business with the bad guys if it is OKnfor Marc Rich to do so?nThat which is not worth dying for isnnot worth not betraying. Opportunity tonact now equals temptation, and nothingnis wrong per se. Robert Hanssen is nonKim Philby; he’s just a modern American.nnMOVING?nSend change of address and thenmailing label from your latest issue to:nCHRONICLES Subscription Dept.nP.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, IL 61054nJUNE 2001/41n