Money, Not Ideology, Drives Modern Spies

Knoxville – As the Federal Bureau of Investigation examines one of its own agents, a University of Tennessee political science professor thinks the American public might be surprised to see the United States and Russia still spying on each other.

“There-s this continuing series of spies who have been caught recently,” said Bill Lyons. “I think most people have become aware that there-s a lot more than the Cold War feeding the espionage game. It-s continued past the fall of the Soviet Union.”

Robert Phillip Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, is accused of passing secrets to the Russians since 1985. He allegedly received more than $1.4 million in cash and diamonds for his spying.

Lyons said money is a more common reason for spying than ideology.

“I think the profit motive is clearly the driving force now,” Lyons said. “We don-t have any indication that spies have the motivation of the Rosenbergs, for example, an ideological commitment to the Soviet Union or socialism.”

“Most, if not all, of the spies we have run across recently in the US have been in this purely in a profit mode. They see this as sort of a business enterprise, albeit one with risk,” Lyons said.

Hanssen was primarily responsible for monitoring the activities of intelligence agents working in the US under ‘diplomatic auspices.’