The Ames Spy Case

Table of Contents

CIA intelligence officer Aldrich Hazen Ames and his wife, Rosario Ames, were arrested 21 February 1994. Ames was charged with providing classified information to the Soviet KGB and its successor service, the Russian Ministry of Security for the Russian Federation (SVR), over a nine-year period.

"From 1983 to 1985, Ames had been assigned to the counterintelligence unit in the agency's Soviet/East European Division, where he was responsible for directing the analysis of Soviet intelligence operations. In this capacity he would have known about any penetration of the Soviet military or the KGB.... According to court documents, Ames' information allowed the Russians to close down at least 100 intelligence operations and led to the execution of the agents in Russia that he betrayed....

"Ames reportedly received up to $2.5 million from the Russians over this period of time.... A search of Ames' office uncovered 144 classified intelligence reports not related to his current assignment in CIA's Counternarcotics Center. He provided the Soviets, and later the Russians, with the identities of ten US clandestine agents (at least nine of whom were executed), the identities of many US agents run against the Russians, methods of double agent operations and communications, details on US counterintelligence operations, identities of CIA and other intelligence personnel, technical collection activities, analytic techniques, and intelligence reports, arms control papers, and the cable traffic of several federal departments.

"On 28 April 1994, Aldrich Ames and his wife pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and to evading taxes. Ames was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Under a plea agreement, Maria Rosario Ames was sentenced to five years and three months in prison for conspiring to commit espionage and evading taxes on $2.5 million obtained by her husband for his illegal activities." U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Security Service, Espionage Cases, 1975-2004: Summaries and Sources (Monterey, CA: Defense Personnel Security Research Center, 2004).

Text of the "Abstract" of the CIA Inspector General's Report of Investigation, dated 21 October 1994, is available at: http://www.loyola.edu/departments/academics/political-science/strategic-intelligence/intel/hitzrept.html. This site also has other materials dealing with the Ames spy case.

The place to begin in trying to understand the Ames case is Arthur S. Hulnick, "The Ames Case: HOW Could It Happen?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 8, no. 2 (Summer 1995): 133-154.

Reportage on Ames Case (To 1999)

Developments from 2000

Books on Ames Case:

A - F

G - Z

Fallout from the Ames Case:



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