1985: The Year of the Spy Essay examples

1985: The Year of the Spy Essay examples

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1985 became branded as the Year of the Spy by American press as a result of a string of high-profile espionage arrests. One of the most notorious cases from this time period is that of Aldrich Hazen Ames. In his thirty year employment with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations, Ames compromised the second-largest number of CIA assets so far as is known; he was alleged to have disclosed virtually all of the CIA's active Soviet agents, many of whom were later executed or imprisoned. Ames received substantial payments for the information he provided- money that he had used years earlier to purchase a new Jaguar automobile and a $540,000 home, with cash, in Arlington. Apparently, these seemingly large expenditures by an employee making less than $70,000 a year had not raised questions at the CIA. For this research paper, I wanted to know how Aldrich Ames was so successful in engaging in espionage activities for almost a decade without attracting any attention whatsoever to himself, and also how this case in particular has transformed the counterintelligence practices of the United States Intelligence Community.
Aldrich Ames’ life prior to his espionage involvement was highly revolved around the Central Intelligence Agency. Carleton Ames, Aldrich’s father, moved his family to the northern Virginia area in 1952 and began working for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. In 1957, “Rick” followed in his father’s footsteps and secured a summer job at the CIA as a Records Analyst where he marked classified documents for filing. He continued this work summer after summer every year through 1959. After a struggle of inadequate grades ultimately resulting in his withdrawal from the University of Chicago, Ames returned t...

... middle of paper ...

...his wife remained in New York.
While in Mexico, Aldrich Ames continued to specialize in Soviet cases. Although his first review was mostly positive, his second and final assessments continued to become progressively weaker. He was much stronger while handling established assets rather than establishing new ones, and he spent little time outside the office, developed few assets, and again was late with financial accountings. Additionally, his evaluations were generally apathetic and focused heavily on his poor administrative work. Regardless, his supervisors indicated he “occasionally exceeds the work standards” and “his performance is good”. CIA records show that in 1982, Ames was considered for a Deputy Chief of Station assignment in another Latin American country, but neither of his immediate supervisors supported the assignment due to his ordinary performance.

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