FBI attempting to break confessional seal in alleged spy case
Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been interviewing priests in an attempt to extract clues that may lead to the prosecution of spy suspect Robert P. Hanssen.
They are hoping that Hanssen, a devout Catholic and member of Opus Dei, has confessed his crimes to a Catholic priest.
However, even if they located a priest who has heard Hanssen's confession, the priest is forbidden by church law to discuss the confession to anyone, including the FBI.
It was reported in late February that FBI agents have been interviewing Catholic priests from St. John Parish in McLean to glean information about their possible spiritual relationship with Hanssen.
The accused spy, the FBI deduces, must have told someone about his alleged 15-year espionage career, which included reportedly passing along thousands of classified federal documents to his KGB handlers.
"Hanssen hasn't expressed regret over his actions," said one FBI source. "But we're interested in finding out if maybe he discussed this stuff with a higher authority."