Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, an American Spy

Overview

Betrayal is the remarkable story of the last American spy of the cold war: Aldrich "Rick" Ames, the most destructive traitor in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency. Tim Weiner, David Johnston, and Neil A. Lewis, reporters for The New York Times, tell how the barons of the CIA could not believe that its headquarters harbored a traitor. For years, the Agency was baffled by a wily Russian spymaster who played a high-stakes chess game against the Americans, deceiving the CIA into thinking that there were ...
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Overview

Betrayal is the remarkable story of the last American spy of the cold war: Aldrich "Rick" Ames, the most destructive traitor in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency. Tim Weiner, David Johnston, and Neil A. Lewis, reporters for The New York Times, tell how the barons of the CIA could not believe that its headquarters harbored a traitor. For years, the Agency was baffled by a wily Russian spymaster who played a high-stakes chess game against the Americans, deceiving the CIA into thinking that there were other moles -- or no moles at all. It took nearly eight years for the CIA to share the full facts of the scenario with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once they knew those facts, the men and women of the FBI tracked Ames day and night for nine months before they arrested him. They tell their story here in astonishing detail for the first time. The interviews are entirely on-the-record. There are no pseudonyms, anonymous quotes, or invented scenes. The men betrayed by Ames were real people, and the stories of their lives are the true history of the espionage game in the waning years of the cold war.

The inside story of the biggest molehunt in the history of American intelligence: the search for and discovery by three New York Times journalists of Aldrich Ames, who was paid by the Soviets for years to spy in America. 16 pages of photos. Index.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This New York Times reporting team's taut, riveting, remarkably vivid account of former CIA agent Aldrich Ames's treason, arrest and 1994 conviction as a mole for Moscow reads like a spy thriller. The Wisconsin-born son of a history professor-turned-CIA-agent, Ames, depicted here as a slovenly, procrastinating, inept, mediocre, alcoholic bureaucrat, rose to become counterintelligence chief of the CIA's Soviet division. In 1985, he revealed to the KGB the identities of 12 Soviet intelligence officers who were secretly working for the CIA. Despite the ensuing wave of KGB arrests and executions, the CIA would not acknowledge that someone within its ranks was a traitor, and the agency's slapdash mole-hunt made progress only after 1991, when the FBI was called in to crack the case. Through hours of jailhouse interviews with Ames, sentenced to life without parole, the authors establish greed as his overriding motive-he stashed away $2 million in payoffs from Moscow in secret bank accounts. This is an amazing tale of institutional hubris and bungling. Photos. (June)
Booknews
Three New York Times reporters reconstruct how the CIA spent almost eight years baffled by a Russian spymaster hidden in its own headquarters. They detail Ames's meetings with his Soviet handlers in Washington, Rome, and Bogota, and the near-panic of CIA officers who tried, in fits and starts, to find the traitor who had burned almost every Soviet agent secretly working for the US--at least 10 had been arrested and executed. When the CIA finally gave the facts to the FBI, its agents tracked Ames for nine months before arresting him in February 1994. Unlike many journalistic reconstructions, this one uses no anonymous quotes or invented scenes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gilbert Taylor
James Adams ["Sellout", BKL Ap 15 95] won the race for the first book-length account of the Ames case, but this author complements his predecessor. Both open with the traitor's arrest, yet they quote Ames' statements differently: "Think, think, think," he mumbled, according to Adams; "You must have the wrong man," quotes Weiner. In either case, Ames was obviously surprised at the crash of his fortunes, having burned agents, blown operations, and collected bundles of Russian cash with impunity for nearly 10 years. Weiner and his "New York Times" team do well narrating such cravenness, which originated in a web of resentments: Ames felt stalled in his career, smarter than the anti-Soviet zealots at Casey's CIA, and strapped for cash. When the case broke last year, the hue and cry played up an incompetent CIA that didn't note the warning signs of Ames' drunkenness and professional sluggishness--legitimate charges--but a well-rounded picture would include the KGB's deceptions that concealed its mole's identity. That roundedness Weiner's team delivers through this window on intelligence issues.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679440505
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/6/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.29 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    ESPIONAGE!

    Betrayal was a great and well written book. I read the book Spy, about the KGB mole Robert Hanssen and learned of Aldrich Ames through that story and decided to read this book to see what he was about as well. He was also a KGB mole who betrayed the United States in lei of money. Well written and very informative. I recommend the book to anyone who likes CIA stories or Espionage stories. More of a biography thriller than an action thriller but still a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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