Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, an American Spy

Genre: Nonfiction, Politics and Current Events, True Crime; Author: David Johnston, Neil A. Lewis, Tim Weiner; Publisher: Random House

Though CIA officer Ames was an incompetent, ”hopelessly careless spy,” he nearly got away with America’s worst treason — thanks to the ineptness of the CIA and the ”incomprehensibly stupid” intrigues of Ollie North. The result: the destruction of all our turncoat spies in Russia. Ames spent his ill-gotten gains ostentatiously — on a luxury home and a Jaguar he parked in the CIA lot. Yet he’d never have been nabbed if the Cold War hadn’t ended and the Soviets hadn’t provided the key, because the CIA wasn’t much good at spotting the truth. Unfortunately, neither are Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, an American Spy’s authors: Tim Weiner, David Johnston, and Neil Lewis. These three New York Times reporters, one a Pulitzer Prize winner, don’t cross-check their interviews, and their accounts — different from others — merely parrot what various self-serving interests want us to believe. C

Originally posted June 30 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT

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