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Aldrich Ames

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Title: Aldrich Ames  
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Collection: 1941 Births, Admitted Soviet Spies, American People Convicted of Spying for Russia, American People Convicted of Spying for the Soviet Union, American People Convicted of Tax Crimes, American Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment, CIA Agents with Criminal Convictions, Counter-Intelligence, Double Agents, George Washington University Alumni, Incarcerated Spies, Living People, People from River Falls, Wisconsin, People of the Central Intelligence Agency, People of the Kgb, Persons Charged Under the Espionage Act of 1917, Persons Convicted Under the Espionage Act of 1917, Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment by the United States Federal Government
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Aldrich Ames

Aldrich Ames
Ames' mug shot, taken on the day of his arrest
Born Aldrich Hazen Ames
(1941-05-26) May 26, 1941
River Falls, Wisconsin
Occupation former Central Intelligence Agency officer and analyst and agent for the Soviet Union and later Russia
Criminal charge [1] (Espionage Act)
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment (without parole)
Criminal status Incarcerated
Spouse(s) Nancy Segebarth (div.)
Maria del Rosario Casas Dupuy
Parent(s) Carleton Cecil Ames
Rachel Aldrich Ames

Aldrich Hazen Ames is an American who was convicted of espionage against his country in 1994. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in the high-security Allenwood U.S. Penitentiary.[2] Ames was formerly a 31-year Central Intelligence Agency counterintelligence officer and analyst who committed espionage against his country by spying for the Soviet Union and Russia.[3] So far as it is known, Ames compromised the second-largest number of CIA agents—second only to those betrayed by Robert Hanssen.


  • Early life and work 1
  • CIA career 2
  • Espionage 3
  • CIA response 4
  • Arrest 5
  • Post-sentence 6
  • Some CIA sources betrayed 7
  • In popular culture 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Early life and work

Ames was born in River Falls, Wisconsin, to Carleton Cecil Ames and Rachel Ames (née Aldrich). His father was a college lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and his mother a high school English teacher. Aldrich was the eldest of three children and the only son. In 1952, his father began working for the CIA's Directorate of Operations in Virginia, and in 1953 was posted to Southeast Asia for three years, accompanied by his family. Carleton received a "particularly negative performance appraisal" in part because of a serious drinking problem and spent the remainder of his career at CIA headquarters.[4]

Ames attended high school at McLean High School in McLean, Virginia. Beginning in 1957, following his sophomore year, Ames worked for the CIA for three summers as a low-ranking (GS-3) records analyst, marking classified documents for filing. In 1959, Ames entered the University of Chicago planning to study foreign cultures and history, but his "long-time passion" for drama resulted in failing grades, and he did not finish his sophomore year. Ames worked at the CIA during the summer of 1960 as a laborer/painter. He then became an assistant technical director at a Chicago theater until February 1962. Returning to the Washington area, Ames took full-time employment at the CIA doing the same sort of clerical jobs he had performed in high school.[5]

CIA career

Five years later, Ames completed a bachelor's degree in history at

  • Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within at the Internet Movie Database
  • U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, "A Review of the FBI's Performance in Uncovering the Espionage Activities of Aldrich Hazen Ames (April 1997) - Unclassified Executive Summary
  • "Famous Cases: Aldrich Ames", Federal Bureau of Investigation - A short description of Ames' spying career
  • Inmate Tracker - Shows Ames' current location within the U.S. Federal Prison system

External links

  • "An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence" (PDF). United States Government Printing Office. November 1, 1994. Retrieved 2010-07-12.  (Archive)
  • Cherkashin, Victor; Feifer, Gregory (2005). Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer: the True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames. New York: Basic Books.  
  • Doyle, David W. Inside Espionage: A Memoir of True Men and Traitors, 2000, ISBN 978-0-9536151-4-8.
  • Earley, Pete. Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1997. ISBN 0-399-14188-X.
  • Grimes, Sandra and Vertefeuille, Jeanne. Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed, Naval Institute Press, 2012, ISBN 978-1-59114-334-5.
  • Maas, Peter. Killer Spy: The Inside Story of the FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Aldrich Ames, America's Deadliest Spy, Warner, 1995, ISBN 0-446-51973-1.
  • Weiner, Tim; Johnston, David; Lewis, Neil A. (1995). Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, An American Spy. New York: Random House.  
  • Rohter, Larry. "In Colombia, Past Without Clues of Spy Charges." The New York Times. February 27, 1994. - About Ames's wife

Further reading

  1. ^ "Aldrich Ames Criminal Complaint" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Aldrich Hazen Ames Register Number: 40087-083". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 2014-01-03.  (Search result)
  3. ^
  4. ^ An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence: Report Prepared by the Staff of the Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate [84-046] (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1994), 4.
  5. ^ "Assessment," 4.
  6. ^ "Assessment," 5; "Ames, Aldrich Hazen Biography". Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  7. ^ "Assessment," 5. Nevertheless, Nancy Ames performed part-time administrative work in her husband's office.
  8. ^ Suzal, Savas (1997-03-02). "Disislerinde CIA Köstebegi".  . Ames made multiple payments for information that included the names of the DEV-GENÇ members Gezmiş knew and the details of their activities.
  9. ^ "Assessment," 6.
  10. ^ "Assessment," 6. At a Christmas party in 1974, Ames was discovered intoxicated and in "a compromising position" with a female CIA employee.
  11. ^ "Assessment," 6-7.
  12. ^ "Assessment," 8.
  13. ^ a b "Assessment," 8-9.
  14. ^ Maas, 222-23.
  15. ^ "Assessment," 11-13.
  16. ^ "Assessment," 13-14.
  17. ^ a b c d Powell, Bill (2002-11-01), Treason: How a Russian Spy Led an American Journalist to a U.S. Double Agent, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-7432-2915-0
  18. ^ "Assessment," 14-15.
  19. ^ "Assessment," 15-16.
  20. ^ "Assessment," 18-19. To deposit the money, Ames maintained several bank accounts and broke the cash into amounts under $10,000 to avoid bank reporting requirements.
  21. ^ "Assessment," 19.
  22. ^  
  23. ^  
  24. ^ "Assessment," 33-35. Ames's immediate supervisors were aware of his alcohol abuse and proclivity to sleep at his desk, but his annual performance reviews "consistently rated him a strong performer."
  25. ^ "The People of the CIA ... Ames Mole Hunt Team — Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  26. ^ "Assessment," 40-41.
  27. ^ "Analysis," 48. The investigation into this tale suggested a fabrication "for career enhancing or financial reasons."
  28. ^ "Assessment," 44-45; Weiner, Johnston & Lewis 1995, pp. 89–90 The KGB advised Ames to get "a real good night's sleep. Be fresh and rested. Be cooperative. Develop rapport with examiner. And try to remain as calm and easy as you can."
  29. ^ "Assessment," 45-46. Pete Early depicts Ames as being able to convince himself that the answers he was giving were actually truthful. Also, according to Early, except for a handful of staff members, the CIA had largely abandoned trying solving the case, and more credit for the resolution should be given the FBI. Confessions of a Spy, February 24, 1997, review of Pete Early, New York TimesChristopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Aldrich Ames: Brilliant or Bumbling?" .
  30. ^ a b Weiner, Johnston & Lewis 1995, p. 144
  31. ^ Weiner, Johnston & Lewis 1995, p. 145
  32. ^ "Crime Library – Crime News and Stories". Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  33. ^ "Assessment," 50-51. The monitor sometimes failed, frustrating the FBI on several occasions.
  34. ^ "FBI History: Famous Cases - Aldrich Hazen Ames". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  35. ^ Weiner,Johnston,Lewis 1995, p. 9
  36. ^  
  37. ^ "FBI History: Famous Cases - Aldrich Hazen Ames". Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-12. . Rosario Ames was released from federal custody after she completed her sentence.
  38. ^ "An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence - Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - 01 November 1994 - Part One". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  39. ^ Pincus, Walter (April 29, 1994). "Money wasn't only reason Ames sold U.S. secrets". Waterloo Courier. The Washington Post. p. A3. Retrieved 2014-01-03 – via 
  40. ^ "Ames: Separated Spy, Agent Lives". Daily Press. April 29, 1994. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  41. ^ Maas, 242.
  42. ^ Maas, 242
  43. ^ Weiner, Johnston & Lewis 1995, p. 45
  44. ^ Weiner, Johnston & Lewis 1995, pp. 44–45
  45. ^ Weiner, Johnston & Lewis 1995, pp. 69–70
  46. ^ Cherkashin & Feifer 2005, p. 219
  47. ^ Cherkashin & Feifer 2005, p. 174
  48. ^ Zanontian, Anthony. "Complete Guide to the Russian KGB - Key Players". Cryptography Archive. Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  49. ^ Wise, David. Nightmover: How Aldrich Ames sold the CIA to the KGB for $4.6 Million, HarperCollins, 1995, ISBN 0-06-017198-7. Excerpted in Time: Victims Of Aldrich Ames
  50. ^ Cherkashin & Feifer 2005, pp. 179,180
  51. ^ "Tolkachev, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  52. ^ Maas, 6.
  53. ^ a b Cherkashin & Feifer 2005, p. 187
  54. ^ a b c "CIA Traitor Aldrich Ames". p. 3. Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  55. ^ Cherkashin & Feifer 2005, pp. 191,192
  56. ^ "CIA Traitor Aldrich Ames". p. 2. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  57. ^ "videofact". Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  58. ^ Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within (TV Movie 1998) - IMDb
  59. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 23, 2013). "ABC Orders Cold War Limited Series 'The Assets' For 2014".  
  60. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (November 19, 2013). "ABC Releases Midseason Schedule: 'Betrayal' in Limbo, 'Revenge' Moves to 10PM, + 'Suburgatory' Premieres January 15".  
  61. ^ "Icon by Frederick Forsyth - Books - Random House". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 


  • James Hall III — An Army warrant officer and intelligence analyst in Germany who sold eavesdropping and code secrets to East Germany and the Soviet Union from 1983 to 1988.
  • Robert Hanssen — Arrested for spying for the Soviet Union and Russia for more than 15 of his 27 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Earl Edwin Pitts — An FBI agent charged with providing Top Secret documents to the Soviet Union and then Russia from 1987 until 1992.
  • Harold James Nicholson — A senior-ranking Central Intelligence Agency officer arrested while attempting to take Top Secret documents out of the country. He began spying for Russia in 1994.
  • KGB and the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (or SVR) for over 25 years.
  • William Kampiles — A CIA clerk who sold a KH-11 spy satellite manual to the Soviet Union.
  • David Henry Barnett — A CIA officer convicted of spying for the Soviet Union in 1980. He volunteered to spy in 1976.
  • John Anthony Walker — A Navy Warrant Officer convicted of providing massive amounts of classified information to the USSR during his Naval career. Several members of his family were involved in his spying activities as well.

Other agents in place in the U.S. government or military who worked as moles for either the KGB or the SVR, include:

See also

  • Ames's story is dramatized in the 1998 movie Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within, starring Timothy Hutton as Ames.[58]
  • The 2014 ABC miniseries The Assets is based on the book Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed by Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, two of the investigators who uncovered Ames' espionage. Grimes is one of the central characters in the series.[59][60]
  • In the 1997 Frederick Forsyth novel Icon, Ames betrays several Soviet agents recruited by the United States.[61]
  • Ames was portrayed by American actor Joseph DiMartino in the television program Mysteries at the Museum which chronicled the Aldrich Ames story and the infamous mailbox used as a signal.

In popular culture

  • Vitaly Yurchenko was a KGB officer in the Fifth Department of Directorate K, "the highest-ranking KGB officer ever to defect to the United States".[43] In August 1985, he defected via Rome to the United States,[44] only to repatriate to the Soviet Union three months later.[45] Ames was privy to all information that Yurchenko gave to the CIA and was able to transmit it to the KGB, which allowed easy cover-ups of lost information.[46] Yurchenko returned to the Soviet Union in 1985 and was reassigned to a desk job within the FCD, a reward for helping to keep Ames' spying a secret.[47]
  • Major General Dmitri Polyakov was the highest-ranking figure in Soviet military intelligence (GRU) giving information to the CIA from the early 1960s until his retirement in 1980. He was executed in 1988 after Ames exposed him.[48] He was probably the most valuable asset compromised by Ames. One CIA official said of Polyakov, "He didn't do this for money. He insisted on staying in place to help us."[49]
  • Colonel Oleg Gordievsky was the head of the London rezidentura (station) and spied for the SIS (MI6). Ames handed over information about Gordievsky that positively identified him as a double agent,[50] although he managed to escape to the Finnish border where he was extracted to the United Kingdom via Norway by the British SIS before he could be detained in Russia.
  • Adolf Tolkachev was an electrical engineer who was one of the chief designers at the Phazotron company, which produces military radars and avionics. Tolkachev passed information to the CIA between 1979 and 1985, compromising multiple radar and missile secrets, as well as turning over classified information on avionics. He was arrested in 1985 after being compromised by both Ames and Edward Lee Howard, and executed in 1986.[51]
  • Valery Martynov was a Line X (Technical & Scientific Intelligence) officer at the Washington rezidentura. Martynov revealed the identities of fifty Soviet intelligence officers operating from the embassy and technical and scientific targets that the KGB had penetrated.[52] Ames turned over Martynov's name to the KGB, and he was executed.[53]
  • Major Sergei Motorin was a Line PR (Political Intelligence) officer at the Washington rezidentura whom the FBI tried to blackmail into spying for the US. He eventually cooperated for his own reasons. Motorin was one of two moles at the rezidentura betrayed by Ames and then quickly executed.[53][54]
  • Colonel Leonid Poleshchuk was a Line KR (Counter-intelligence) agent in Nigeria. He too was betrayed by Ames. His arrest was attributed to a chance encounter where KGB agents had observed a CIA agent loading a dead drop. After some time, Poleshchuk was seen removing the contents.[55]
  • Sergey Fedorenko was a nuclear arms expert assigned to the Soviet delegation to the United Nations. In 1977, Ames was assigned to handle him, and Fedorenko betrayed information about the Soviet missile program to Ames. The two men became good friends, hugging when Fedorenko was about to return to Moscow. "We had become close friends", said Ames. "We trusted each other completely".[56] Ames was initially hesitant to betray his friend, but soon after handing over the majority of the information, he decided to also betray Fedorenko to "do a good job" for the KGB.[54] Back in the USSR, Fedorenko used political connections to get himself out of trouble. Years later, Fedorenko met his friend Ames for an emotional reunion over lunch and promised to move to the United States for good. Ames promised to help. Shortly after lunch, Ames betrayed him to the KGB for a second time.[54] Fedorenko escaped arrest, defected, and is currently living in Rhode Island.[57]

Some CIA sources betrayed

Ames's attorney, Plato Cacheris, had threatened to litigate the legality of FBI searches and seizures in Ames's home and office without traditional search warrants, although Ames's guilty plea made the threat moot. Congress then passed a new law giving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that specific power.[42]

The CIA was criticized for not focusing on Ames sooner, given the obvious increase in his standard of living.[17] There was a "huge uproar" in Congress when CIA director James Woolsey decided that no one in the CIA would be dismissed or demoted at the agency. "Some have clamored for heads to roll in order that we could say that heads have rolled," Woolsey declared. "Sorry, that's not my way." Woolsey was forced to resign.[41]

Ames is Federal Bureau of Prisons prisoner #40087-083, serving his sentence in the high-security Allenwood U.S. Penitentiary near Allenwood, Pennsylvania.[2]


Ames said he was not afraid of being caught by the FBI or CIA but was afraid of Soviet defectors, saying, "Virtually every American who has been jailed in connection with espionage has been fingered by a Soviet source."[39] Additionally, when asked about the polygraph tests, Ames said, "There's no special magic. Confidence is what does it. Confidence and a friendly relationship with the examiner. Rapport, where you smile and you make him think that you like him."[40]

In court, Ames admitted that he had compromised "virtually all Soviet agents of the CIA and other American and foreign services known to me" and had provided the USSR and Russia with a "huge quantity of information on United States foreign, defense and security policies."[38] It is estimated that information Ames provided to the Soviets led to the compromise of at least a hundred US intelligence operations and to the execution of at least ten US sources.

On February 22, 1994, Ames and his wife were formally charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. Ames's betrayal resulted in the deaths of a number of CIA assets.[36] He pleaded guilty on April 28 and received a sentence of life imprisonment. His wife received a five-year prison sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy to commit espionage as part of a plea bargain by Ames.[37]

In March 1993, the CIA and FBI began an intensive investigation of Ames that included electronic surveillance, combing through his trash, and a monitor installed in his car to track his movements.[33] From November 1993 until his arrest, Ames was kept under virtually constant physical surveillance. When in early 1994 he was scheduled to attend a conference in Moscow, the FBI believed it could wait no longer, and he and his wife were arrested on February 21, 1994.[34] At arrest, Ames told the officers, "You're making a big mistake! You must have the wrong man!"[35]


  • A $540,000 house in Arlington, Virginia, paid for in cash;[30]
  • A $50,000 Jaguar automobile;[31]
  • Home remodeling and redecoration costs of $99,000;[30]
  • Monthly phone bills exceeding $6,000, mostly calls by Ames's wife to her family in Bogotá, Colombia;
  • Tailored suits that replaced Ames's former "bargain basement" clothes, conspicuously finer than those of his CIA colleagues; and
  • Premium credit cards whose minimum monthly payment exceeded his monthly salary.[32]

The CIA finally focused on Ames after it realized that despite a salary of only $60,000, Ames had been able to afford:

In 1986 and 1991, Ames passed two polygraph examinations while spying for the Soviet Union and Russia, respectively. Ames was initially "terrified" at the prospect of taking the test, but he was advised by the KGB "to just relax".[28] Ames's test demonstrated deceptive answers to some questions but the examiners passed him, perhaps in the later opinion of the CIA because the examiners were "overly friendly" and therefore did not induce the proper physiological response.[29]

Prior to this, in November 1989, a fellow employee reported that Ames seemed to be enjoying a lifestyle well beyond the means of a CIA officer and that his wife's family was less wealthy than he had claimed. Nevertheless, the CIA moved slowly. When the investigator assigned to Ames's finances began a two-month training course, no one immediately replaced him.[26] Investigators were also diverted by a false story from a CIA officer abroad who claimed that the Soviets had penetrated the CIA with an employee born in the USSR.[27]

By 1990, the CIA was certain that there was a mole in the agency and recruitment of new Soviet agents came to a virtual halt from fear that the agency could not protect its current assets.[17]

In late 1986, the CIA assembled a team to investigate the source of the leaks. The team, led by Paul Redmond and consisting of Jeanne Vertefeuille, Sandra Grimes, Diana Worthen, and Dan Payne, examined different possible causes, including the possibilities that the KGB had either bugged the agency, intercepted its communications, or placed a mole.[25]

Replacement of the mailbox used by Ames: a horizontal chalk mark above the USPS logo would signal a needed meeting. 37th and R Sts. NW. Original in the Spy Museum.

CIA response

Ames was posted to Rome in 1986. There his performance once again ranged from mediocre to poor, and included evidence of problem drinking. Nevertheless, in 1990-91, Ames was reassigned to the CIA's Counterintelligence Center Analysis Group, providing him with access to "extremely sensitive data", including information on US double agents.[24]

In 1986, Ames told the KGB that he feared he would be a suspect after the loss of several CIA assets. The KGB threw US investigators off his trail by constructing an elaborate diversion whereby a Soviet case officer told a CIA contact that the mole was stationed at Warrenton Training Center (WTC), a secret CIA communications facility in Virginia. US mole hunters investigated 90 employees at WTC for almost a year and came up with ten suspects, although the lead investigator noted that "there are so many problem personalities that no one stands out".[22][23]

When, in August 1985, Ames's divorce became final, he immediately married María del Rosario. Understanding that his new wealth would raise eyebrows, he developed a cover story that his prosperity was the result of money given him by his Colombian wife's wealthy family. To help fabricate this, Ames wired considerable amounts of his espionage profits to his new in-laws in Bogota, as well as to better their impoverished status.[21]

Meanwhile, Ames continued to meet openly with his contact at the Soviet embassy, Sergey Dmitriyevich Chuvakhin, and for a time, Ames summarized for the CIA and FBI the progress of what he portrayed as an attempt to recruit the Soviet. In fact, Ames received $20,000 to $50,000 every time the two had lunch.[20] Ultimately, Ames received $4.6 million from the Soviets, which allowed him to enjoy a lifestyle well beyond the means of a CIA officer.[17]

As one CIA officer put it, the Soviets "were wrapping up our cases with reckless abandon," which was highly unusual because the "prevailing wisdom among the Agency's professional 'spy catchers'" was that suddenly eliminating all the assets known to the mole would put him in danger. In fact, Ames's KGB handlers apologized to him but said the decision to immediately eliminate all American assets had been made at the highest political levels.[19]

The CIA then blamed asset losses on another former CIA agent, Edward Lee Howard, who had also been passing information to the Soviets. But when the CIA lost three other important sources of information about whom Howard could have known nothing, it was clear that the arrests (and executions) originated from another source.[18]

By 1985, the CIA's network of Soviet-bloc agents began disappearing at an alarming rate. The CIA realized something was wrong but was reluctant to consider the possibility of an agency mole. Initial investigations focused on possible breaches caused by Soviet bugs or by a broken code.[17]

Ames later claimed that he had not prepared for more than the initial "con game" to satisfy his immediate indebtedness, but once having "crossed a line," he "could never step back." Ames soon identified more than ten top-level CIA and FBI sources who were reporting on Soviet activities. Not only did Ames believe that there was "as much money as [he] could ever use" in betraying these intelligence assets, but their elimination would also reduce the chance of his own espionage being discovered.[16]

Ames routinely assisted another CIA office that assessed Soviet embassy officials as potential intelligence assets. As part of this responsibility, and with the knowledge of both the CIA and the FBI, Ames began making contacts within the Soviet Embassy. In April 1985, Ames provided information to the Soviets that he believed was "essentially valueless" but that would establish his credentials as a CIA insider. He also asked for $50,000, which the Soviets quickly paid.[15]


In October he formally separated from his wife, and in November, he submitted an "outside activity" report to the CIA noting his romantic relationship with Rosario. As part of his divorce settlement, Ames agreed to pay the couple's debts plus provide his wife monthly support for three-and-a-half years, a total of about $46,000. Ames thought the divorce might bankrupt him, and he later said that this financial pressure first led him to consider spying for the Soviet Union.[13] Rosario also proved to be a heavy spender—after her arrest the FBI discovered in the Ames's house sixty purses, more than five hundred pairs of shoes, and 165 unopened boxes of pantyhose.[14]

Nevertheless, in September 1983, the CIA assigned Ames back to the SE division in Washington, placing him "in the most sensitive element" of the Department of Operations, that was responsible for Soviet counterintelligence. Ames had access to all CIA plans and operations against the KGB and the GRU, Soviet military intelligence.[13]

In 1981, Ames accepted a posting to Mexico City while his wife remained in New York. His evaluations in Mexico were mediocre at best, and he also engaged in at least three extramarital affairs. In October 1982 Ames began an affair with María del Rosario Casas Dupuy, a cultural attaché in the Colombian Embassy and a CIA informant. Despite CIA regulations, Ames did not report his romance with a foreign national to his superiors, even though some of his colleagues were well aware of it. Ames's lackluster performance reviews were in part the result of heavy drinking. At a diplomatic reception in Mexico City, Ames got into a loud, drunken argument with a Cuban official that "caused alarm" among his superiors.[12]

In 1976, Ames was assigned to New York City where he handled two important Soviet assets. His performance was excellent, he received several promotions and bonuses, and was ranked above most operations officers in his pay grade, although his tendency to procrastinate in submissions of financial accounting was noted. Ames's inattention to details also led him to make two important security violations, including once leaving a briefcase of classified operational materials on the subway. Ames apparently received only a verbal reprimand.[11]

In 1972, Ames returned to CIA headquarters where he spent the next four years in the Soviet-East European (SE) Division. His performance reviews were "generally enthusiastic", apparently because he was better at managing paperwork and planning field operations than at agent recruiting. Nevertheless, his excessive drinking was also noted, and two "eyes only" memoranda were placed in his file.[10]

Ames's job in Turkey was to target Soviet intelligence officers for recruitment, and he succeeded in infiltrating the Communist Deniz Gezmiş.[8] In spite of this success, Ames's performance was rated only "satisfactory", and Ames, discouraged by the critical assessment, considered leaving the CIA.[9]

In 1969 Ames married fellow officer Nancy Segebarth, whom he had met in the Career Trainee Program. When Ames was assigned to Ankara, Turkey, Nancy resigned from the CIA because of a rule that prohibited married partners from working as officers from the same office.[7]


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