- ISBN/SKU: 9781591143963
- Binding: Paperback & eBook Available
- Era: Cold War
- Number of Pages: 240
- Subject: Espionage
- Date Available: November 2013
Watch SANDY GRIMES presentation at the National Archives , 20 April 2013
“What makes this volume interesting is that it was written by longtime CIA insiders, who saw firsthand how the agency’s network inside the Soviet Union crumbled. They write authentic sketches of agents working for the CIA who were betrayed by Ames.”—The Washington Post
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.
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. She 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, she 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 she served on contract as an analyst 1993-present and died just after the publication of the book in hardcover.
Watch Sandra Grimes presentaion at the 139th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Naval Institute
“Circle of Treason has the advantage of being written by two intelligence professionals, not by academics or journalists, and thus is an authoritative account of the Soviet sources that were providing the U.S. with invaluable information during the Cold War until Ames betrayed them. Because classified material on operational cases was going to be made public, the CIA took over three years to approve the book's publication. T he authors note that 90% of the disputes were resolved in their favor.”
"In a brutally frank account of CIA traitor Aldrich Ames's career, Grimes, a 26-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Service, and Vertefeuille, a long-time CIA counterintelligence officer, pull back the curtain on the hunt for an American who spent years working for the KGB without being discovered…Well-researched and written in a clear, no-frills style, this fascinating Cold War saga will allow any American without a security clearance to better understand how Aldrich Ames could have become one of the most damaging moles in U.S. intelligence history."
“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.”
—Studies in Intelligence
All in all, Circle of Treason is a disturbing read, but essential for anyone interested in the intricate detail work involved in a counterintelligence investigation—and a tribute to two women who helped push it to conclusion.”
— Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies, Winter/Spring 2013
“…[A] fine book which is gripping without any pyrotechnics, a story that could not be told except by the women who brought Ames down.”
— The Dispatch  (Columbus, MS)
“An enormously important account of a complex, often frustrating case, written by those who did much of the work to solve it.”
– The Intelligencer: The Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies