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'Perfect wife' did not suspect betrayal

BERNADETTE 'Bonnie' Hanssen, a 55-year-old mother of six and teacher at a Roman Catholic school, apparently had no idea her husband was spying for Russia, investigators said.

BERNADETTE 'Bonnie' Hanssen, a 55-year-old mother of six and teacher at a Roman Catholic school, apparently had no idea her husband was spying for Russia, investigators said.

Initially so shocked that she could hardly speak, the daughter of a university lecturer was interviewed last week by FBI investigators eager to learn how she could have remained ignorant of his betrayal.

Bonnie Wauck met Robert Hanssen while he was working for the Chicago police department and always believed that he was an intensely patriotic American.

After he joined the FBI she encouraged him as he rose through the ranks. The couple set up home in Vienna, a leafy Virginia suburb 18 miles outside Washington, in 1987 and on the surface had a modest middle-class existence. One daughter studied at Oxford University and four attended a Catholic school, Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Only the two youngest remained at home, the basketball hoop outside indicating they were nothing but a typical American family.

Nancy Cullen, a neighbour, said: "She's just such a moral person and I can't believe she would have stayed around if she knew about this."

@@STYL el,1 Hanssen's communications with his Russian handlers hinted that neither his wife nor his children knew of his double life. He wrote in response to a request for him to travel abroad: "On meeting out of the country: it is simply not practical for me. I must answer too many questions from family, friends and government. Plus, it is a cardinal sign of a spy."

* Daily Telegraph, London

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