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Aldrich Ames

Notes & Transcripts

Anyone know who this is? Probably not from this picture. He was born in Wisconsin in 1941. In 1963 he began working for the CIA as in a lower level job simply to put himself through college. The agency fascinated him, however, and, when he graduated from college he stayed. In fact, he remained there for over 30 years. He rose through the ranks and became a U. S. Operative, gaining many secrets about the old Soviet Union during the Cold War.

But while his career bloomed, his personal life tanked. Fights with his wife, Nancy, led to binge drinking, an affair, and ultimately to a divorce. And that divorce was not pretty. It was messy and expensive and that expense, combined with the avaricious shopping habits of his new live-in girlfriend, ruined him financially.

Yet, even though his finances were in trouble on paper, he began to live a lavish lifestyle. He bought a new jag; He paid cash for a half-a-million dollar mansion. Suspicion was aroused and the FBI began investigating. When they reached the end of his money trail, they found that Aldrich Ames had sold out 100 Soviet operatives at a price of over 4 million dollars. His treason cost 10 of those spies their lives. Well, in the mid-90's, Ames gave up his new mansion. Yep, he soon traded it in for government housing. He now serves a life sentence at the U.S. Penetentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. He discovered that treason will cost you. He discovered that defection is expensive.

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