Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Brian Kelly Case: The CIA CounterSpy Wronged By The FBI

I interviewed Brian Kelly, a veteran CIA counterintelligence officer, some years ago for a magazine piece.

My piece was about foreign espionage in America, but I also asked him about his ordeal of being wrongly pursued by the FBI as a major Russian spy. As it turned turned out, the spy was in fact an FBI Special Agent, Robert Hanssen.

Kelly said then and continues to say today that the FBI investigation ruined his career in the CIA and it dearly hurt his family.

Kelly told his story again to The Fairfax County Times in Virginia. (Kelly is seen above in a photo by Shamus Ian Fatzinger).

You can read the story via the below link:


As Kelly notes in the newspaper story, you can read an accurate account of the Hanssen (and Kelly) case in David Wise's excellent book, Spy: The Inside Story of How The FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America. (Hanssen is seen above in an FBI photo).

One of the FBI Special Agents who comes out well in Wise's Spy is Thomas K. Kimmel. While the FBI was pursuing Kelly at the CIA, Kimmel thought there might be a "mole" in the FBI.

I was not surprised that Kimmel was on the right track. I knew Kimmel when he was the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Office in Philadelphia some years ago.

I interviewed him several times for magazine pieces and he was a frequent guest on Inside Government, a Sunday morning public affairs radio program that aired on WMGK FM and WPEN AM in the Philadelphia area at the time. I was one of the program's producers and on-air hosts and I interviewed Kimmel on a variety of subjects, including espionage.

Kimmel was knowledable about espionage and other crimes and he was a very good guest. FBI street agents told me that Kimmel was also a respected and well-liked boss.

(Kimmel is seen below in an FBI photo).
You can also read about the Kelly case and view a video of Kelly's appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes in 2003 via the below link:


I've covered the FBI for a good number of years. I've interviewed senior FBI officials at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. and I've interviewed street agents in Philadelphia and elsewhere. I also interviewed legendary FBI Special Agent Joe Pistone, who went undercover as "Donnie Brasco" when he infiltrated the Bonanno Cosa Nostra crime family in New York.

I believe the FBI does good work and keeps our country safe and secure, but in the Kelly case, the FBI leadership failed. It is not too late for the current FBI director to make a public apology to Kelly and his family.

I look forward to reading Brian Kelly's book.

1 comment:

  1. From the Fairfax Times article, words to haunt a patriot's nightmares:"and he also suspects that another mole remained undetected."

    I agree with you about the generally good work of the FBI. Although they Bureau does have a problem when it comes to certain high-profile cases (Richard Jewell, Brian Kelley, Stephen Hatfill).