Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed

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9781591143345: Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed
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Circle of Treason details the authors' personal involvement in the hunt for and eventual identification of a Soviet mole in the CIA during the 1980s and 1990s. The search for the presumed traitor was necessitated by the loss of almost all of the CIA's large stable of Soviet intelligence officers working for the United States against their homeland. Aldrich Ames, a long-time acquaintance and co-worker of the authors in the Soviet-East European Division and Counterintelligence Center of CIA, turned out to be that mole. In April 1985 Ames walked in to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D. C. and volunteered to the KGB, working for the Soviet Union for nine years until his arrest by the FBI in February 1994.

Ames was arguably one of the most destructive traitors in American history, and is most well-known for providing information which led to the death of at least 11 Soviet intelligence officers who spied for the West. The authors participated in the majority of these cases and the book provides detailed accounts of the operational contact with the agents as well as other similar important cases with which the authors also had personal involvement. The stories of the brave men who were executed or imprisoned by the Soviet Union include GRU General Dmitriy Fedorovich Polyakov, KGB Colonel Leonid Georgiyevich Poleshchuk, KGB Colonel Vladimir Mikhaylovich Piguzov, GRU technical officer Nikolay Chernov, GRU Lieutenant Colonel Boris Nikolayevich Yuzhin, KGB scientific and technical officer Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov, GRU Colonel Vladimir Mikhaylovich Vasilyev, GRU officer Gennadiy Aleksandrovich Smetanin, KGB illegals support officer Gennadiy Grigoryevich Varenik, KGB scientific and technical officer Valeriy Fedorovich Martynov, KGB political intelligence officer Sergey Mikhaylovich Motorin, KGB officer Sergey Vorontsov, and Soviet scientist Adolf Grigoryevich Tolkachev. Other operations include KGB technical officer Viktor Ivanovich Sheymov, GRU Colonel Sergey Ivanovich Bokhan, and KGB Colonel Aleksey Isidorovich Kulak. Of particular note in the preceding list of agents compromised by Aldrich Ames is GRU General Dmitriy Fedorovich Polyakov, the highest-ranking spy ever run by the U.S. government against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Described as the "Crown Jewel", he provided the U.S. with a treasure trove of information during his 20-plus year history of cooperation.

The book also covers the aftermath of Aldrich Ames arrest: the Congressional wrath on CIA for not identifying him sooner; FBI/CIA debriefings of Ames following his plea bargain; a retrospective of Ames the person and Ames the spy; and a comparison of Ames and FBI special agent and Soviet spy Robert Hanssen, arrested in February 2001 and sentenced to life in prison for spying for the Soviet Union against the U.S. for over 20 years. Although not personally involved in the Hanssen investigation, the two authors were peripherally involved in what became, after many false starts the Hanssen case.

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About the Author:

Sandra V. Grimes was a twenty-six year veteran of CIA's Clandestine Service who spent the majority of her career working against the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Born in New York State and spent her childhood and formative years in Colorado. Joined the CIA in July 1967 shortly after graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Russian. A mother of two grown daughters and four grandchildren, currently lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her husband of forty-plus years.

Review:

"The authors provide intriguing insights into the background and tradecraft of a number of productive operations the CIA ran against the GRU and KGB from the 1960s through the 1980s. They also show how, when operations went wrong or were compromised by traitors, sources paid with their lives. Circle of Treason has the advantage of being written by two intelligence professionals, not by academics or journalists, and thus is an authoritative account of the Soviet sources that were providing the U.S. with invaluable information during the Cold War until Ames betrayed them. Because classified material on operational cases was going to be made public, the CIA took over three years to approve the book's publication. The authors note that 90% of the disputes were resolved in their favor." --The Wall Street Journal

"What makes this volume interesting is that it was written by longtime CIA insiders, who saw firsthand how the agency's network inside the Soviet Union crumbled. They write authentic sketches of agents working for the CIA who were betrayed by Ames, such as Dmitriy Polyakov, a general in the GRU (Soviet military intelligence), the highest-ranking Soviet official in uniform to spy for the United States during the Cold War, who was arrested and executed after Ames identified him. This book adds an insider perspective to the bookshelf..." --The Washington Post

"[A] fine book which is gripping without any pyrotechnics, a story that could not be told except by the women who brought Ames down." -- The Dispatch (Columbus, MS)

"All in all, Circle of Treason is a disturbing read, but an essential one for anyone interested in the intricate detail work involved in a counterintelligence investigation -- and a tribute to two women who helped push it to a conclusion." -- The Washington Times

"Circle of Treason is an enormously important account of a complex, often frustrating, case written by those who did much of the work to break it." --Studies in Intelligence

"In a brutally frank account of CIA traitor Aldrich Ames's career, Grimes, a 26-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Service, and Vertefeuille, a long-time CIA counterintelligence officer, pull back the curtain on the hunt for an American who spent years working for the KGB without being discovered. Espionage buffs will love the details taken from previously classified CIA files, as well as a penetrating view of him as an "All-American boy" and spy. Well-researched and written in a clear, no-frills style, this fascinating Cold War saga will allow any American without a security clearance to better understand how Aldrich Ames could have become one of the most damaging moles in U.S. intelligence history."
--Publishers Weekly

"Writing with inside knowledge and access, retired CIA officers Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille bring clarity and vivid color to the complex and often misunderstood story of the Aldrich Ames spy case. They were involved, supporting CIA's most important cases in the Soviet Union, first witnessing the arrests of valuable agents and then uncovering Ames' treachery with hard work and brilliant insights. Circle of Treason is a page-turner, the real story a thousand times more interesting than spy novels and fictional movies."
--Burton Gerber, retired CIA operations officer, co-editor of and contributor to Transforming U.S. Intelligence and Vaults Mirrors and Masks: Rediscovering U.S. Counterintelligence

"You can now read the insiders' own, long-awaited account of the unmasking and capture of Aldrich Ames, the most notorious and damaging CIA officer to ever work as a KGB mole inside the Agency. This is the team that caught him. This is the story of how they did it. His betrayal greatly damaged U.S. national security, led to the executions of at least 8 courageous Soviet intelligence officers, and roiled the U.S. Intelligence Community for years. No picture of this infamous case is complete without this gripping narrative by the investigators themselves."
--Peter Earnest, Executive Director, International Spy Museum

"A story that only two CIA mole hunters could tell, Circle of Treason fills the gaps in earlier books, giving readers a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of how America's worst CIA traitor, Aldrich Ames, was unmasked. Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille put human faces on his many victims, revealing important details about their personal lives, motivations, and the incredible secrets they provided us that cost them imprisonment or their lives. A thoroughly researched and riveting, must read."
--Pete Earley, author of Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames

"Only the authors of Circle of Treason could write this fascinating insider account, which not only deals with their tenacious, painstaking pursuit of the CIA's most damaging spy but also reveals the extraordinary efforts the CIA took to ensure the safety of its sources fighting the oppressive Soviet regime. This is essential reading for intelligence professionals and for anyone interested in the day-to-day reality behind Cold War espionage."
--Michael Sulick, former Director of CIA's National Clandestine Service

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9781591143963: Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed

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ISBN 10:  1591143969 ISBN 13:  9781591143963
Publisher: Naval Institute Press, 2013
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