Friday, September 11, 2009

Breach Of Belief

I watched the move Breach this past week, and it made me think poor old Robert Hanssen was framed. There were just so many things wrong with the way Hanssen supposedly acted that I watched the entire thing again with the dvd commentary on because one of the central characters helping to take Hanssen down, Eric O'Neil, was speaking on the commentary. O'Neil and the director made it obvious some of the more dramatic stuff in the movie never happened, and that at one time there were over 500 people on the case to take Hanssen down.

500 people with careers on the line? You don't even need a master plan; everybody is gathering data, interpreting, and re-interpreting the stuff, playing up their own biased notions about the guy until he's toast. Seriously, this movie made me google, "Was Robert Hanssen framed" and variations thereof.

I found an astrologist who, along with a soldier friend, noticed with incredulity many aspects of the F.B.I. investigation agianst Hanssen:

Now I suppose this can’t be, right? Hanssen is guilty so I guess the director lost the plot? But it left me thinking all kinds of things.

For one, what does the FBI think of this lousy movie? Are the soldier and I paranoid? What did others think when they saw this… did they believe it? Are we weird… or normal?

Nah, Elsa, the astrology makes you weird, but then again I can't say seeing this movie and thinking Hanssen was framed necessarily makes you normal; most people seem to enjoy being herd creatures, so it's probably normal to accept your daily dose of propaganda right along with breakfast.

J.R. Nyquist, way back in 2001 points to a reason Hanssen may have been framed:

Hanssen covers all sins. Have all our operations been compromised for half a generation? Blame it on Hanssen. Can the Russians nuke all our submarines under the oceans? Blame it on Hanssen. Analysis will show that Hanssen led the Japanese carriers to Pearl Harbor. Hanssen recruited Benedict Arnold for the British. Hanssen tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. The root of all our intelligence evils has been located. Salvation is here. Now the bunglers in Washington can sleepwalk soundly to the very end of this Republic of the Lamb -- silent before their coming doom.

His emphasis, of course, is on the sorry state of affairs in the intelligence arena, not on Hanssen, but his hyperbole contains truth none the less. Too many people had a direct professional interest in building a case against Hanssen, and I'm guessing at least a few had longstanding personal interests in destroying him. One thing was pretty clear; he didn't fit in with the standard F.B.I. culture, and people can get really malicious when you continually demonstrate you are smarter than them, whether you are snobbish about it or not. Nyquist provides us with the last piece of incentive, the incentive of the entire institution, indeed the whole intel industry to make a scapegoat out of one man so that they can all keep their cushy jobs.

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