While there have been other books about Aldrich Ames, Circle of Treason is the first account written by CIA agents who were key members of the CIA team that conducted the intense "Ames Mole Hunt."
Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille were two of the five principals of the CIA team tasked with hunting one of their own and were directly responsible for identifying Ames as the mole, leading to his arrest and conviction.
One of the most destructive traitors in American history, CIA officer Aldrich Ames provided information to the Soviet Union that contributed to the deaths of at least ten Soviet intelligence officers who spied for the United States. In this book, the two CIA officers directly responsible for tracking down Ames chronicle their involvement in the hunt for a mole. Considering it their personal mission, Grimes and Vertefeuille dedicated themselves to identifying the traitor responsible for the execution or imprisonment of the Soviet agents with whom they worked.
Their efforts eventually led them to a long-time acquaintance and coworker in the CIA's Soviet-East European division and Counterintelligence Center, Aldrich Ames.
Not only is this the first book to be written by the CIA principals involved, but it is also the first to provide details of the operational contact with the agents Ames betrayed. The book covers the political aftermath of Ames's arrest, including the Congressional wrath for not identifying him sooner, the FBI/CIA debriefings following Ames's plea bargain, and a retrospective of Ames the person and Ames the spy. It is also the compelling story of two female agents, who overcame gender barriers and succeeded in bringing Ames to justice in a historically male-oriented organization.
Now retired from the CIA, Grimes and Vertefeuille are finally able to tell this inside story of the CIA's most notorious traitor and the men he betrayed.
©2012 Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I find this an a fascinating subject and the authors had a story to tell but it just doesn't deliver. It reads like a school essay and the narration is poor and lacking inflection. I particular dislike the last chapter where the authors spend time complaining about lack of recognition for CIA colleagues when others got it. She could have done it better saying nothing and let the reader judge. I wish it could be re written and narrated
"Reads like a police report but interesting anyway"
Those expecting either a traditional linear storyline or page turner will be disappointed but that doesn't mean this take doesn't have its pluses. It is oddly structured - starting out with bios of the case officers who investigated and caught Ames, followed by biographical profiles of those he betrayed, then the investigation itself. Only toward the end of the book is there a profile of Ames. The reader is required to piece much of this into a coherent timeline/narrative. Taken together the reader gets an overall understanding of his crimes but less so about the man. Will hardly keep the reader on the edge of their seat but is enough to reveal the banality of the man, the doggedness of his pursuers, and the gravity of his crimes.
Narration is okay but matches the "Just the facts M'am" tone if the book.
A bit too dry for that.
"The hunt for a mole"
Why were so many agents in the USSR being compromised to the KGB and executed? Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, longtime veterans of the CIA were in the forefront of a small group assigned to the mission, in early 1991 to expose the traitor (mole) in their midst. They give a detailed step by step account of the hunt and the arrest of Aldrich Ames. Ames was a 30 year veteran of the CIA and Directorate of Operations. They give credit to the people both CIA and FBI that worked with them on the project. They also discuss some of the other traitors uncovered during the time. I found it interesting that in the beginning of the book it was revealed that both women were college graduates, spoke several languages, but the only jobs open in the CIA to women at the time was as typist and secretary. They were hired and had to work their way up as areas were opened to women as the years went by. As I was from the same time frame I was well aware of this problem. It is nice to have the note in passing, written in a book, cause a look back at how far women have come in the work place. The book reveals it was the tedious attention to detail and the following of the money that finally caught Ames. They note Ames was a man that thought women were of no value in the work place so it was great he was caught by two women. I am sure that a lot of information was censored by the CIA but this book is of interest to us history buffs. Janet Metzger did a good job narrating the book.
"How to GET ahead by selling Secrets~5 STARS~"
PLOT: Aldrich Ames the ultimate spy~ selling secrets to the KGB.
Aldrich Ames worked for the CIA~ having a failed first marriage and then marries a very well educated Columbian Rosario. Rosario likes nice things and spends at an alarming amount of money. When Rick (ALDLRICH) Ames is even more seriously in debt he takes a walk over to the Russian Embassy and offers to "sell secrets". As his information is proved "very helpful" and more operatives spying for the CIA 'disappear'.... Ames is given even more money a grand total of $2.7 MILLION dollars by the Russians. Dozens of people died and many ended up in prison. Ames continued to spy until the day he was arrested. He was mainly captured due to his very extravagant spending. When you pay $500,000 CASH for a house someone has to find out. LOL.....Jeanne Vertefelle and Sandy Grimes had worked for the CIA for years. They working hard even through the good old boy network only allowed women for typing. As they are recruited for a special team to ferret WHY so many CIA spies are "disappearing".... ruling out wire taps and communication breaches they only have a "mole" as the last possibility. Ames who felt he deserved a extravagant foreign car HE drove to work every day....finally gets noticed.... when combing Ame's bank statements do they get the final PROOF Ames has a new hobby.....selling secrets....to the KGB. This starts with the history of Jeanne and Sandy the authors... and their climb up the CIA ladder. then they are chosen to find the MOLE. Ames who is labeled a narcissist can pass a lie detector test has no feelings of guilt what so ever about his double dealing. The LOOK into the capture of a SPY and the workings of the CIA is both interesting and very entertaining. This book is excellent and give us the most accurate look at Ames by his own co workers. I give it 5 out of 5.
"Straight, and to the point"
A lot of other reviewers have stated that the reader's voice is monotone or robotic. Personally I found it to match the overall tone of the book very well, with a matter-of-fact statement that leaves out unnecessary or excessive emotion. This isn't a drama, per say, it is an accounting of historical events.
With this content and level of intrigue it could have been really exciting. It was not. The actual spying and clandestine meetings and tactics were barely touched upon - whereas the tedious parts were drawn out. Such a shame- I was hoping for an exciting international spy thriller. It was not horrible just boring.
"Not writing, but a robot reading from a notebook"
Maybe ex-spies or those in the intelligence-counterintelligence community who want to fall asleep quickly.
The reader of this book spoke with about as much emotion as a robot and sounded like she was reading from a notebook. Awful. A school child could have done better.
Would not help to cut characters.
There's probably an interesting and readable story buried within the pages of this book. The whole thing about spy vs. spy is great stuff, very entertaining. The material here has the added advantage of being true, which ought to have made it even more riveting. Instead, the author spent her time on meaningless and boring stories about things that didn't matter, mixed in a bunch of incomprehensible jargon and then failed to write the story at all, but rather told it like a robot reading a notebook. The spy who bored me should have gotten a real writer to put it on a correct course. If you want to know how to do it, check out Legacy Of Ashes, contained in your bookstore. That is also a true book based on real events, but told by a writer.
If you're looking for a mildly interesting - not even to hope for exciting - story on the Aldrich Ames spy case, this isn't it. At best this is an unexciting tome of names and places that could (maybe) serve as a good text book for someone who wanted to study the affair. I stuck with it hoping that the activities leading to and culminating in the arrest might quicken the pace. No such luck. Any piece of the case that might have some dramatic interest are tossed off in a sentence at most. We owe great thanks to the authors for their work that uncovered Ames, but an editor somewhere should have helped them weave this dry-as-dust re-telling into something of a story that had a narrative, didn't drone on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on, and let the reader feel some of --any of-- their emotions during their work.
"More suited for academic study than leisure."
This book offered only one or two interesting chapters. It reads like an encyclopedia, and is dry, pompous and even distracting at times. I understand that the authors are well educated, and highly intelligent, but their superb writing abilities should be reserved for their investigative memorandums and other correspondence.
The book's vocabulary is not entirely common. For example, the authors' use of the word 'matriculate' was unnecessary in my opinion. They could have simply mentioned that Ames was, 'accepted to the University of Chicago.'
Furthermore, the narrator's tone was dull and unemotional, perhaps due to the writing itself. The narrator also continued without pause, preventing sufficient time to understand the serious impacts of certain events.
While I hold a Master's degree in Security Studies and believe I can articulate myself well with written words, I prefer simple language for books which I consider to be historical or even leisure reads.
I do not recommend this book.
"A little on the analytical side"
The story suffered from the fact that they had to hold to the truth, which is to say it was relatively slow-moving and not action-packed. Having said that, the subject was interesting enough to keep me engaged. It's one that I'll listen to again in the future, and that's a strong upcheck from me.
This is the story of Aldridge Ames. Ames' only crime was outing Russian double agents we considered 'Assets'. Lets not forget VP Cheney outed CIA covert operative for his own country, Valery Plume. The outed double agents Ames outed, were Russian KGB agents who the US believed were trust worthy and honest and devoted to the cause of bringing down the Society Union.
It's poorly read, she'll bore you to sleep, and it's a story of little significance in the world of Intel.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.