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Sell Out

By James Adams

Aldrich Ames was a downwardly mobile CIA officer with a serious inferiority complex, and an even more serious drink problem.

Yet to the KGB, he was the most important recruit since Kim Philby.

And Ames was special. His betrayal would make him a multimillionaire, cause the death of at least ten of America’s best agents, and single-handedly destroy a superpower’s Cold War intelligence operation…

On 21 February 1994, Aldrich Ames and his wife Rosario were finally arrested outside their home by the FBI.

It was the end of the biggest spy hunt in American history – and the beginning of the biggest scandal ever to hit the CIA.

But why was Ames not caught sooner? And who, in the end, was to blame?

Despite requests from the FBI, during Ames’s authorized contact with the Soviet Embassy officials in Washington, the Agency failed to monitor his contacts. Ames was given the perfect opportunity…

There were several failings that led to Ames’ ability to carry out such a monumental betrayal. Financial inquiries took much longer to undertake than was necessary; the polygraph sessions Ames was subjected to were not properly coordinated and the examiner himself had several failings; and even with Ames’ deficiencies being well-known, he was still selected for assignments where he was given access to highly sensitive information.

These and many other factors all contributed to Ames carrying out the biggest CIA scandal.

Sell Out is the first major investigation of the Ames affair.

James Adams is Washington Bureau Chief and defence correspondent of the Sunday Times, and a leading authority on covert warfare, terrorism, weapons and international relations. His other works, also published by Endeavour Press, include the ‘comprehensive, thoughtful and provocative’ The New SpiesThe Financing of Terror, Trading in Death and Secret Armies. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, he now lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and two children.

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