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Beyond Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Other Moles, Double Agents and Traitors
Posted November 29, 2011 to photo album "Beyond Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Other Moles, Double Agents and Traitors"
In TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDER, SPY, no one is what they appear, especially with a suspected Soviet mole at the very center of the Circus. But turncoats, traitors, moles, double agents, and sleeper cells are nothing new in the world of espionage.
Aldrich Ames: Turned by Love and Money
Above, Aldrich Ames under arrest; below, Rosario Ames.
From 1985 to 1994, CIA agent Aldrich “Rick” Ames was a double agent for the Soviet Union and Russia. As an employee in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, Ames had access to the identities of FBI and CIA agents who were spying in and on the Soviet Union. Based on his info, 25 “sources” (24 Soviet men and 1 woman who spied for the CIA) were rounded up, and 10 were sentenced to what Soviet officials called “the highest measure of punishment,” meaning they were shot in the back of the head and buried in unmarked graves. In addition, he handed over a vast amount of information about CIA operations and agents. For this, he was paid over $2 million (with another $2 million kept in a Soviet bank for him). Although at his trial Ames offered a pseudo-ideological defense, claiming, “I had come to believe that the CIA was morally corrupt. The CIA is all about maintaining and expanding American imperial power, which I had come to think was wrong,” most view his real motive as simply money. A bad divorce and new fiancé had stretched him financially. In 1983, after being promoted to Counterintelligence Branch Chief in Soviet Operations, Ames realized he had access to very valuable information, which he started selling to the Soviets in 1985. After a few years, he feared that the sudden disappearance of so many Soviet sources might lead the CIA back to him. But in truth it was his greed, not his treason, which tripped him up. In 1986, after he’d gotten himself transferred to Rome with his new Columbian wife, Rosario, he started a massive spending spree, which continued even when he returned to Washington DC, and bought a half-million dollar house, a brand new Jaguar, Armani suits, and expensive jewelry – all supposedly on his $69,000 a year salary. Ames was sentenced to life in prison, and Rosario, the woman who inspired him to turn traitor, got five years and was deported back to Columbia, even though at trial she claimed she was just a dupe: “In order to understand how I got caught up in Rick Ames's deceit, you have to understand that he was, and is, a liar and manipulator. Exactly those qualities that made him a good intelligence officer for our country."