SPY CASES - UNITED STATES

Aldrich Hazen Ames

Books on the Case

A - F

 

Alec Chambers' review of Adams' Sellout; Maas' Killer Spy; Weiner, Johnston, and Lewis' Betrayal; and Wise's Nightmover and a separate review of Earley's Confessions of a Spy can be read at "First four books on Ames case" and "Earley's book on Ames case," respectively.

Hayden Peake has published two consolidated reviews that include Earley's book: "A Mole in Residence," CIRA Newsletter 22, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 6-12; and "A Sign on the Roof: The Case of Aldrich Ames," American Intelligence Journal 17, no. 3/4: 90-94. The quotations included here come from the Newsletter version.

Also see the consolidated reviews by (1) Marie Arana-Ward, "The Man Who Sold the Secrets," Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 19-25 Jun. 1995, 35-36; (2) Joseph E. Evans, "The Ames Case: Various Versions," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 358-361; and (3) Thomas Powers, "No Laughing Matter," New York Review of Books (10 Aug. 1995) and Chapter 21 in Intelligence Wars (2004), 321-332.

Adams, James. Sellout: Aldrich Ames and the Corruption of the CIA. New York: Viking, 1995.

Cherkashin, Victor, with Gregory Feifer. Spy Handler -- Memoir of a KGB Officer: The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen & Aldrich Ames. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Clark comment: The subtitle of this book is (as often happens with subtitles) misleading at best. Cherkashin did not literally "recruit" Ames and Hanssen; they dropped themselves into his lap.

Troy, CIRA Newsletter 30.1 (Spring 2005), says that the author "has written an entertaining book" about "his (relatively brief) involvement with Ames and Hanssen and much more about his career" that spanned 39 years with the KGB. The book is "enjoyable and easy to read." For Bath, NIPQ 21.2 (Jun. 2005), this work "is more than the record of a skilled intelligence officer, it also offers a rare picture of the case officer's day-to-day activities and challenges."

To Usdin, I&NS 21.6 (Dec. 2006), the author "provides little new information about Ames, Hanssen or Pelton." In fact, he "reveals far more about the KGB than about the CIA, FBI or NSA." Ehrman, Studies 49.3 (2005), comments that the author "not only tells a fascinating story but also provides numerous insights -- some of them probably unintended -- into the world of the KGB that make this a rewarding book for specialists and general readers alike." Cherkashin does not "seem bothered by the character of the post-Stalin system he served or of the service in which he worked."

Epstein, Wall Street Journal (30 Dec. 2004), uses the publication of Cherkashin's book to argue that the arrests of Ames and Hanssen prove that "Angleton was right." Cherkashin's story "provides a gripping account of [the KGB's] successes in the spy war.... That America's counterespionage apparatus allowed both [Ames and Hanssen] to operate as long as they did is a testament to its complacency as much as to the KGB's cleverness."

Earley, Pete. Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames. New York: Putnam's, 1997.

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