The Fallout from the Ames Case

Materials arranged chronologically.

Friedman, Norman. "World Naval Developments: Spies . . . and All That." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan. 1995, 90-92.

Friedman expresses some doubt that Soviet disinformation disseminated in CIA intelligence analyses caused the United States to overspend on military hardware. He notes that "it seems unlikely that the Soviets would have mounted a disinformation campaign designed to cause the United States to spend more on defense, and particularly on better weaponry.... Moreover, the CIA's power over U.S. policy is quite limited. The operational requirements that shape airplanes like the F-22 are based on assessments by the defense intelligence arms."

Pincus, Walter. "Woolsey's Departure Is Symptomatic of a Troubled Legacy." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 2-8 Jan. 1995, 31-32.

During the 1980s, the CIA had both "impressive successes and spectacular failures," with the latter squandering much of the former. "This mixed record has its roots in the CIA's dramatic buildup during the Reagan administration, and its failure to deal with many difficulties that accompanied that growth."

Clark comment: Pincus has been covering the CIA for the Washington Post for enough years that he makes some excellent points in this article. I wish, however, that he did not so blithely treat as proven that Bill Casey was the driving force behind Iran-Contra, and that the Agency's connection to the affair ("slim" though it may have been) resulted from Casey's bad example and his successors' failures to enforce "accountability."

Ignatius, David. "Is the CIA's New Mission Impossible?" Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 13-19 Mar. 1995, 23-24.

According to the reporter, "the CIA in the aftermath of the Ames affair is not a happy shop. Morale is low; gifted young officers are leaving; many who remain are embittered.... There's a surprising consensus about how the agency should try to rebuild.... Everyone seems to agree that the DO [Directorate of Operations] must become smaller, more focused in selecting its targets and tougher about maintaining quality control. These reforms are easy to enumerate. But in a closed, clandestine bureaucracy, they are very hard to put in practice."

Clark comment: Ignatius also cites some examples of "disillusionment among young DO officers." It may be me, but all of the examples given sounded so whiny that my reaction was "good riddance" that these people had resigned.

Haver, Richard L. "The Ames Case: Catalyst for a National Counterintelligence Strategy." Defense Intelligence Journal 4, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 11-18.

Smith, Esmond D. [CAPT/USN (Ret)] "Security and the Ames Case: An Assessment." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 11, no. 4 (Oct. 1995): 4-8.

Weiner, Tim. "C.I.A. Admits Failing to Sift Tainted Data." New York Times, 1 Nov. 1995, A1, C19 (N).

The CIA admitted on 31 October 1995 "that it knowingly gave the White House and the Pentagon information on the Soviet Union from foreign agents it knew or strongly suspected were controlled by Moscow.... The agency thought it more important to protect its suspect Soviet sources than to tell the nation's leaders the truth, members of the [congressional intelligence] committees said.... The devastating conclusion was the latest chapter ... in the case of Aldrich Ames."

New York Times. "[Editorial:] The C.I.A.'s False Intelligence." 2 Nov. 1995, A14 (N).

"An intelligence agency that knowingly misleads its own government with tainted information from the other side is about as out of control as it gets."

Weiner, Tim. "Tainted Items Sent by C.I.A. Are Put at 95." New York Times, 10 Nov. 1995, A10 (N).

SSCI Chairman Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) stated on 9 November 1995 that from 1986 to 1994 the CIA passed Presidents and Pentagon officials "a total of 95 reports from foreign agents whom it knew or strongly suspected were controlled by Moscow."

Cassata, Donna. "Drive to Reform CIA Intensifies as Ames Case Fallout Worsens." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 4 Nov. 1995, 3392.

"The explosive revelation that Aldrich H. Ames' treachery allowed sullied information from Cold War double agents to reach the top echelons of the U.S. government has left the congressional oversight committees even more determined to see far-reaching reforms at the CIA."

Johnston, Philip. "MPs Fear 'Untold Damage' Caused by CIA Traitor Ames." Telegraph (London), 29 Mar. 1996. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

According to a report from the British Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, Aldrich Ames "may have caused untold damage to British security interests." The Committee's report was "highly critical" of "the way the intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic handled the Ames scandal." The Committee "said it was not satisfied that the matter was being treated seriously enough," and "accused the CIA of failing to furnish its British counterpart with enough information."

[Deutch, John.] "Statement to the Public on the Ames Damage Assessment." NMIA Newsletter 11, no. 1 (1996): 23-25.

Brief comments on the damage Ames did; deficiencies in the CIA's organization, procedures, and management; and major corrective actions taken and improvements made.

Return to Ames Case Table of Contents

Return to CIA 1990s Table of Contents