Aldrich Hazen Ames, a former CIA official, was convicted of espionage against his own nation in 1994. The ‘Central Intelligence Agency’ tasked him to uncover Soviet spies as a counterintelligence officer and analyst. However, he became a double agent, spying for the USSR and later Russia. Aldrich Ames, who sold classified material to the KGB and then to Russia, made millions and became the highest paid US double agent. His espionage includes providing names of Soviet double spies and other operations working for the US. The Soviet Union executed some of the best US spies thanks to his information, making him a dangerous double agent who compromised US security and intelligence services. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in the ‘Allenwood U.S. Penitentiary’.
Early Childhood of Aldrich Ames
Born in River Falls, Wisconsin, on May 26, 1941. He was the only son of Carleton Cecil Ames, a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Rachel Ames, a high school English teacher.
CIA from 1952 until retirement. In 1953, his family moved to Southeast Asia for three years with Carleton.
McLean High School in McLean, Virginia. His love for drama led him to perform in high school productions.
Starting in 1957, he worked for the CIA for three summers as a low-ranking (GS-3) records analyst.
His great enthusiasm for theatre led him failing marks at the ‘University of Chicago’ in 1959.
He worked as a laborer in the CIA in 1960 and then as an assistant technical director in a Chicago theatre until February 1962.
After returning to Washington, he was a full-time CIA clerical employee.
George Washington University awarded him a BA in history in 1967.
A Career of Aldrich Ames
In the ‘Career Trainee Program’ of the CIA, he was inducted after achieving the GS-7 grade and receiving good performance appraisals.
From 1969 until 1972, he worked in Ankara, Turkey, identifying potential US spies among Soviet intelligence officials. In this effort, he enlisted the aid of student activist Deniz Gezmiş’ roommate. Despite this effort, his performance was merely satisfactory, and he considered leaving the CIA.
Returning to the CIA in 1972, he joined the Soviet-East European (SE) Division, where he spent four years.
In 1976, he was moved to New York, where he handled two key Soviet operatives and received numerous promotions and bonuses. He was verbally reprimanded for his irresponsibility that resulted in two severe security breaches.
On the heels of a disappointing performance in Mexico, he returned to Washington in September 1983 to work in the SE division’s Department of Operations, which conducted Soviet counterintelligence. He had access to all CIA counter-intelligence strategies and efforts against the KGB and the GRU.
He was known to contact prospects in the Embassy since he worked for one of the CIA divisions that determined potential US spies. So he sold material to the Soviet Union in April 1985, earning $50,000 while the CIA and FBI were unaware.
He quickly identified ten FBI and CIA sources snooping on Soviet activity. As a result, CIA agents in the USSR dwindled. While the CIA suspected something was amiss, they were first skeptical of a double agent.
The CIA suspected former agent Edward Lee Howard of being involved, but after losing three more operatives, it became evident that someone else was involved.
And Aldrich Ames started living a luxury life, far beyond a CIA officer’s means. To hide his current situation, he cooked up a narrative about receiving a fortune from Mara del Rosario’s affluent Columbian family. To make his story more realistic, he would give money to his new in-laws.
Then, in 1990-1991, he was reassigned to the CIA’s Counterintelligence Center Analysis Group, where he had access to vital material on American double agents.
A CIA officer from outside avoided the CIA’s investigation into his finances by claiming that a USSR born employee had infiltrated the CIA.
Despite passing two polygraph tests in 1986 and 1991, the CIA became suspicious of his opulent lifestyle and unexpected acquisition of moveable and immovable properties that did not match his CIA pay.
In March 1993, the CIA and FBI began a detailed investigation, and after November 1993, they tracked his car.
And his wife were arrested on February 21, 1994. The next day, the ‘US Department of Justice’ charged them with espionage with the USSR and Russia. He confessed his spying in court. His wife got five years in prison while he got life.
He is currently Federal Bureau of Prisons prisoner #40087-083 and will be held in maximum security in the Allenwood U.S. Penitentiary.
Personality of Aldrich Ames
In 1969, he married CIA officer Nancy Segebarth. Nancy left her position after Aldrich Ames was sent to Ankara, Turkey, because the CIA forbids married couples to work together.
Nancy stayed in New York when he was sent to Mexico City in 1981. He had several adulterous encounters there.
He began seeing Mara del Rosario Casas Dupuy in October 1982. Despite CIA protocols, he did not alert his superiors about his contact with a foreign individual.
He divorced his wife in August 1985 after they separated in October 1983. He married Mara soon after their divorce. Mara aided him in his debauchery.
His drinking habit hampered his career and CIA work.
Estimated Net Worth
Aldrich is a wealthy and well-known Criminal. Aldrich Ames net worth is estimated at $1.5 Million by Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.