Circle of Treason by Sandra Grimes
A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed

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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.
-CIA

Synopsis

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.
 

About Sandra Grimes

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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. Jeanne Vertefeuille was a CIA officer during the Cold War 1954-1992, specializing in the Soviet target, particularly in the Counterintelligence area. She led the small task force which resulted in the arrest of Soviet mole Aldrich Ames in 1994. Subsequently served on contract as an analyst 1993-present and lives in McLean, VA.
 
Published December 15, 2012 by Naval Institute Press. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Circle of Treason
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Dec 03 2012

Well-researched and written in a clear, no-frills style, this fascinating Cold War saga will allow any American . . . better understand.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Christina Shelton on Dec 11 2012

The authors provide intriguing insights . . . but . . . The author's theory also fails to account for the many unsolved anomalies.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by David E. Hoffman on Nov 30 2012

The authors do not spill all the beans . . . This book adds an insider perspective to the bookshelf but is probably not the last word on the Ames case.

Read Full Review of Circle of Treason: A CIA Acco...

CIA

Excellent
Reviewed by Hayden Peake on Jan 04 2013

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.

Read Full Review of Circle of Treason: A CIA Acco...

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