42 Facts About Aldrich Ames


Aldrich Hazen "Rick" Ames is a former CIA counterintelligence officer who was convicted of espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union and Russia in 1994.


Aldrich Ames is serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, in the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana.


Aldrich Ames was born in River Falls, Wisconsin, to Carleton Cecil Ames and Rachel Ames.


Aldrich Ames's father was a college lecturer at the Wisconsin State College-River Falls, and his mother a high school English teacher.


Aldrich Ames was the eldest of three children and the only son.


In 1959, Aldrich Ames entered the University of Chicago planning to study foreign cultures and history, but his "long-time passion" for drama resulted in failing grades and he did not finish his sophomore year.


Aldrich Ames then became an assistant technical director at a Chicago theater until February 1962.

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Five years after first working for the CIA, Aldrich Ames completed a bachelor's degree in history at the George Washington University.


Aldrich Ames did not plan to have a career with the agency, but after attaining the grade of GS-7 and receiving good performance appraisals, he was accepted into the Career Trainee Program despite several alcohol-related brushes with the police.


In 1969, Aldrich Ames married a fellow CIA officer, Nancy Segebarth, whom he had met in the Career Trainee Program.


Aldrich Ames succeeded in infiltrating the communist Dev-Genc organization through a roommate of student activist Deniz Gezmis.


In spite of this success, Aldrich Ames' performance was rated only "satisfactory".


In 1972, Aldrich Ames returned to CIA headquarters and spent the next four years in the Soviet-East European Division.


In 1976, Aldrich Ames was assigned to New York City, where he handled two important Soviet assets.


Aldrich Ames's performance was rated excellent, and he received several promotions and bonuses, being ranked above most operations officers in his pay grade.


In 1981, Aldrich Ames accepted a posting to Mexico City while his wife remained in New York.


In October 1982, Aldrich Ames began an affair with Maria del Rosario Casas Dupuy, a cultural attache in the Colombian embassy and a CIA informant.


Aldrich Ames married Rosario in 1985, with whom he fathered a son, Paul Ames, who was born in 1989.


At a diplomatic reception in Mexico City, Aldrich Ames got into a loud, drunken argument with a Cuban official that "caused alarm" among his superiors.


Nevertheless, in September 1983, Aldrich Ames was transferred back to the SE division in Washington.


Aldrich Ames's reassignment placed him "in the most sensitive element" of the Department of Operations, which was responsible for Soviet counterintelligence.


Aldrich Ames had access to all CIA plans and operations against the KGB and the GRU, Soviet military intelligence.


Aldrich Ames thought the divorce might bankrupt him, and later said that this financial pressure was what had first led him to consider spying for the Soviets.


Aldrich Ames routinely assisted another CIA office that assessed Soviet embassy officials as potential intelligence assets.


Aldrich Ames asked for $50,000, which the Soviets quickly paid.

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Aldrich Ames soon identified more than ten top-level CIA and FBI sources who were reporting on Soviet activities.


Not only did Aldrich Ames believe that there was "as much money as [he] could ever use" in betraying these intelligence assets, but their elimination would reduce the chance of his own espionage being discovered.


Meanwhile, Aldrich Ames continued to meet openly with his contact at the Soviet embassy, Sergey Dmitriyevich Chuvakhin.


Aldrich Ames received $20,000 to $50,000 every time the two had lunch.


Ultimately, Aldrich Ames received $4.6 million from the Soviets, which allowed him to enjoy a lifestyle well beyond the means of a CIA officer.


Aldrich Ames wired considerable amounts of his espionage payments to his new in-laws in Bogota to help improve their actual impoverished status.


An FBI report later stated that Aldrich Ames had not advised the Soviets about Gordievsky until June 13,1985.


In 1986, following the loss of several CIA assets, Aldrich Ames told the KGB that he feared he would be a suspect.


Later, after he had defected, Gordievsky spoke highly of the information that Aldrich Ames had provided to the KGB, stating that "the significance of Aldrich Ames was huge" and that the Soviets were impressed with the "quality and quantity" of secrets that he had delivered.


In 1986 and 1991, Aldrich Ames passed two polygraph examinations while spying for the Soviet Union.


Aldrich Ames was initially "terrified" at the prospect of taking the test, but was advised by the KGB "to just relax".


In March 1993, the CIA and FBI began an intensive investigation of Aldrich Ames that included electronic surveillance, combing through his trash and the installation of a monitor in his car to track his movements.


From November 1993 until his arrest, Aldrich Ames was kept under virtually constant physical surveillance.


In court, Aldrich Ames admitted that he had compromised "virtually all Soviet agents of the CIA and other American and foreign services known to me", and had provided the USSR and Russia with a "huge quantity of information on United States foreign, defense and security policies".


Aldrich Ames said he was not afraid of being caught by the FBI or CIA but was afraid of Soviet defectors, saying, "Virtually every American who has been jailed in connection with espionage has been fingered by a Soviet source".


The CIA was criticized for not focusing on Aldrich Ames sooner, given the obvious increase in his standard of living.


Eitan stated that Pollard never exposed American agents in the Soviet Union or elsewhere, and that he believed Aldrich Ames tried to blame Pollard to clear himself of suspicion.