A 31-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, Aldrich ”Rick“ Hazen Ames became famous in 1994 as the highest paid ”mole“ (double agent) in United States history. Ames made millions of (US) dollars for information he provided to the Soviet KGB, and later Russian intelligence, while a mid-level employee of the CIA. The information he sold to the KGB included the names of Russian double agents and operatives working for the U.S. within the Soviet intelligence community, ultimately leading to their capture, imprisonment, or execution by Soviet authorities. Ames was thus, one of the most destructive double agents to compromise the security of the United States intelligence services. A decade after Ames was born in 1941, his father, a college professor, gained employment as a CIA analyst. Ames attended college at George Washington University, majoring in history. He began working for the CIA in 1959 while still a student, largely because of his father’s position there. Ames’s performance throughout his career at the CIA was marked by a somewhat of mediocrity. As you grow and get older in your job, you get automatically promoted, as other Senior officers retire. He continued to get promoted, but never really impressed like 'bigtime', on anyone. Probably because he hidden some other intentions, compared to the other intel professsionals.
IE (meaning) = Those who were his fellow CIA colleagues. Sometimes you never have to say it loudly, but people can't react to a guy that is super-professional, when there are none to be found.
Anyway, Ames kept himself, in 'the company' as it's internally called, and the CIA organization, by keeping a low profile.
In 1972, Ames started at the CIA headquarters and 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.
Ames, actually was a CIA case officer, who spoke fluent Russian and specialized in the various Russian intelligence services, including the KGB, the USSR’s foreign intelligence service, and the GRU - the military variant of the same.
His initial overseas assignment was in Ankara, Turkey, where he targeted Russian intelligence officers for American recruitment. Later, he worked in New York City and Mexico City, Mexico. On April 16, 1985, while assigned to the CIA’s Soviet/ East European Division at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
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 would establish his credentials as a CIA insider. He also asked for $50,000, which the Soviets quickly paid. 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." He passed classified information about CIA and FBI human agents and sources, as well as technical operations that was targeting the Soviet Union.
Then, Ames soon identified more than ten top-level CIA and FBI sources who were reporting back to America 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. 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.
The CIA initially 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. 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' KGB handlers apologized to him and also disagreed with that course of action but said the decision to immediately eliminate all American assets had been made at the highest political levels.
Meanwhile, Ames continued to meet openly with his contact at the Soviet embassy, Sergey Dmitriyevich Chuvakhin. For a time, Ames summarized for the CIA and FBI the progress of what he portrayed as an attempt to recruit the Soviet. Ames received $20,000 to $50,000 every time the two had lunch. Ultimately, Ames received $4.6 million from the Soviets, which allowed him to enjoy a lifestyle well beyond the means of a CIA officer. When, in August 1985, Ames' divorce became final, he immediately married Rosario. Understanding that his new wealth would raise eyebrows, he developed a cover story that his prosperity was the result of money given to 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 help improve their impoverished status.
In 1986, Ames told the KGB that he feared he would be a suspect after the loss of several CIA assets. The KGB threw U.S. 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. U.S. 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".
In 1986, Ames was posted to Rome. There, his performance once again ranged from mediocre to poor and included evidence of problematic drinking. Nevertheless, in 1990–1991, he was reassigned to the CIA's Counterintelligence Center Analysis Group, providing him with access to "extremely sensitive data", including information on U.S. double agents.
In December 1985, Ames was sent to Mexico City to recruit new American agents. One of his ﬁrst recruits was a woman with whom he was having an affair, the Colombian cultural attaché Maria Del Rosario Casas. Ames later married Casas that same year. She later on, aided Ames in his illegal activities, helping with playing both the 'Reds' and 'Blues' different tricks.
Ames also at the same time in 1985, Colombia, met with a Moscow-based higher ranked Soviet Union KGB officer in Bogota.
Picture shows Soviet Union in 1931. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Moscow during its demolition.
So, to be short, Mr. Ames made his ﬁrst deal with the Communist-regime Soviets in April, 1985, selling his employers (the CIA) secrets for to start with, an initial payment of $50,000 USD.
The CIA transferred Ames to Rome in 1986, where he stayed until 1988 working for the CIA’s Soviet Counterintelligence Division, at the same time selling secrets to the KGB. Although Ames’s job was allegedly to recruit Soviet agents (from the embassy in Rome) into the CIA, he failed to successfully recruit a single Soviet agent. His work, however, provided him with the actual names and identities of American CIA working Soviet Union information informants, that CIA had on it's pay list, and it was this information he sold to the KGB.
At the conclusion of his assignment in Rome, Ames received instructions from the KGB regarding clandestine (meaning / the secret) contacts in the Washington, D.C. area, where he would next be assigned.
In addition, the KGB wrote to Ames that he had been paid $1.88 million by them in the four years since he volunteered.
By 1989, after his return to the United States, he had made enough money to pay cash for a $540,000 home in Arlington, Virginia, an exclusive suburb of Washington, D.C., and another $100,000 for improvements on the house. He told friends and acquaintances he and his wife had inherited money from her family in Colombia. Ames continued to pass classified documents to the KGB, using “dead drops” or prearranged hiding places where he would leave the documents to be picked up later by KGB officers from the USSR Embassy in Washington. In return, the KGB left money and instructions for Ames, usually in other “dead drops.”
In 1991, Ames was transferred to the CIA’s Counternarcotics Division. Although he no longer had authorized access to information his Russian handlers might want, he managed to stay on the payroll by stealing computer ﬁles and other sensitive material. The CIA had suspected the presence of a mole in the agency since 1986, when the ﬁrst two of the Soviet agents Ames betrayed were executed. Suspicions grew with every execution and disappearance of Soviet agents in the late 1980s. The CIA was aware of Ames’s extravagant spending as early as 1990. Ames passed inquiry lie-detector tests in 1986 and 1991.
In the meantime, the CIA and FBI learned that Russian officials who had been recruited by them were being secretly arrested and executed. These human (re-)sources had provided USA with critical intelligence information about the USSR, which was used by the U.S. policy makers in Washington D.C. when determining the U.S. foreign policies. However, In 1993, a joint investigation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA narrowed a list of 200 suspects down to fewer than 40, and then later even down to Aldrich Ames himself. That was following analytical reviews and receipt of information about Ames’s unexplained wealth or 'riches', so the FBI opened an investigation in late May 1993.
In 1986 and 1991, Ames passed two polygraph examinations while spying for the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, respectively. Ames was initially "terrified" at the prospect of taking the test, but he was advised by the KGB "to just relax". Ames' 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.
The CIA finally focused on Ames after coworkers noted a sharper personal appearance with:
Cosmetic dentistry; Ames' teeth, which were yellowed by heavy smoking, were capped.
Attire; Ames had been previously known for "bargain basement" attire, then suddenly changed to tailor-made suits not even his superiors could afford.
The CIA also realized Ames' annual salary was $60,000, yet he could afford:
A $540,000 house in Arlington, Virginia, paid for in cash;
A $50,000 Jaguar luxury car;
Home remodeling and redecoration costs of $99,000;
Monthly phone bills exceeding $6,000, mostly calls by Ames' wife to her family in Colombia;
Premium credit cards whose minimum monthly payment exceeded his monthly salary.
Rosario also proved to be a heavy spender, phoning her family in Colombia at a cost of $400 a month and going on shopping sprees—after her arrest the FBI discovered in the Ameses' house over sixty purses, more than five hundred pairs of shoes, and 165 unopened boxes of pantyhose's.
So FBI, in late May, 1993, launched project ”Nightmover,“ a criminal investigation under the FBI’s jurisdiction charged with gathering evidence against Ames, the biggest double-agent ever.
Compiling enough evidence to arrest Ames and his wife on conspiracy charges took nearly a year. Over one hundred FBI agents, some of them elite members of the Special Services Group, tapped Ames’s phone wires, rooted through his garbage, planted a wire in his Jaguar, installed a video camera across from his house, shadowed him disguised as trash collectors and lawn maintenance workers, and kept his home under nearly constant surveillance.
The big break in the case occurred in early September, 1993. Ames was overheard talking on his cell phone with his wife. The conversation included details about a pending deal with Russian agents. A few days later, he was seen near what was assumed to be the signal or dead drop site used by Ames and his Russian contacts. On September 15, the FBI found a note in Ames’s garbage can indicating he was arranging a meeting for October. The FBI then obtained a warrant to enter Ames’s house. While Ames and his family were away for a weekend in early October, the FBI searched his home, ﬁnding in his personal computer detailed information about drop sites and meeting places along with ﬁles of classiﬁed CIA information Ames had no business taking home. They followed him to Bogota where he was to meet with his handler, Yuri Karetkin, but failed to catch him in the act. Ames returned home $125,000 richer. Nothing happened for four months. Ames appeared to be laying low. Finally, after detecting an unusual number of Russian intelligence ofﬁcers lurking around Ames’s neighborhood, the FBI became worried that the Russians had guessed Ames was under investigation. Ames was scheduled to go to Moscow and the FBI feared he might defect. The FBI decided to act, even though they had not been able to catch Ames actually meeting with his Russian handler.
The above picture: Aldrich and Rosario Ames were arrested by the FBI on February 21, 1994, when they raided his home in Virginia, USA, and the couple were both charged with the heavily serious crime espionage, and they both were later also convicted in court. Read more about their sentences below !
To prevent them from ﬂeeing the country, the couple were arrested and held without any bail options.
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." It is estimated that information Ames provided to the Soviets led to the compromise of at least a hundred U.S. intelligence operations and to the execution of at least ten U.S. sources. Furthermore, Ames' betrayal of CIA methods allowed the KGB to use "controlled agents" to feed the U.S. both genuine intelligence and disinformation from 1986 to 1993. Some of this "feed material" was incorporated into CIA intelligence reports, some of which even reached three Presidents.
The Ames espionage case, called a ”calamity“ (disaster) by the Senate Intelligence Committee, remains one of the worst and most remarkable cases of double-dealing between nations, in the history of the United States of America.
The case is remarkable not only because Mr. Ames made so much money selling out CIA secrets and people, but also because of the huge amount of information he sold the USSR, and he on purpose compromised and destroyed over a hundred international covert operations at the CIA and other agencies.
And this incident is also unique because Ames remained undetected and continued to destroy for so many, for so long, without detection.
The Ames case prompted an investigation by the US Senate, looking into it's nations overall counterintelligence procedures at their CIA.
At the same time calls/protests from the Congress and the public were made, calling for doing a sweeping reform of the agency.
Following the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, actually some minor reforms were instituted to in the future guard against the possibility of another big security breech.
Ames was sentenced to incarceration for life (life in prison) without the possibility of parole.
To gain leniency (easiness) for his wife, Ames plead guilty to all charges that were thrown against him by the FBI. His wife received a five-year prison sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy to commit espionage as part of a plea bargain by Ames.
Rosario Ames was sentenced on October 20, 1994 to 63 months in prison. Rosario Ames has completed her sentence and has since then been released.
Ames was responsible for double-crossing a lot of of Soviet Citizens and USSR public officials helping the USA and the free world, in the best of their intentions;
And Ames also sold out many of CIA's own agents working in Russia. All were suddenly arrested, jailed and secretly executed, without any public trial or court hearing, because Ames had told the Soviets about their identities.
He sold out many fine lives, over 100 living souls, for just some fucking $$$ money - All were people that was executed by the USSR,
but at least Aldrich Ames will never again be a free man walking the streets buying himself a beer a sunny day.
We bet even the old Soviet Union military officers look down at people such as Ames, although they benefited from his sellouts at those times.
People like Ames are called HUMAN TRASH. And they aint welcome anywhere.
Nothing equals killing hundreds of other humans throughout the world, mostly in other dictator or communist regimes, (that was informants and helpers) that really did put their total trust in the colleagues of Ames at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Americas / USA, as a living nation;
A nation standing up for freedom and everyone's right to exercise their free will and thinking and the right to say what they 'wanna' say, both in public and in the press.
So.. Just because he thought that he had found his way to his own private paradise...
But left the others working for a better world, somewhere else (dead).
-Can't you beat him up once a week ?
( Just for fun ? Or as a great retaliation of the many intel officers he left to rot in the hands of the secret police in the USSR and that was executed, and never again returned home to see their families, due to the simple fact that one of 'their own' in their own organization,
betrayed life itself.)
It was just a suggestion.
You can give him a cake and a loving hug if YOU like.
FROM // THE POLITICAL AVENUE™ INTEL & POLITICS MAGAZINE.