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Definitions, Page 4

Photo of Aldrich Ames (Photo Source: Associated Press)
Photo of Aldrich Ames (Photo Source: Associated Press) 

Mole- a mole is an individual who works for one organization, while covertly working for a separate organization. This is most often between two rival intelligence agencies, but could also be between rival businesses participating in corporate/industrial espionage.

The mole is either selected to covertly join the rival organization and work their way up to a high level position, or they can be a current employee of one organization who decides to betray their original employer and pass secrets to the rival entity. The mole is useless unless they work in positions with high levels of access to the information the rival organization desires.

A mole is a type of insider, but not all insiders are moles.

One famous and devastating mole was Aldrich Ames. The following account of the Ames case was taken from the CIA's website:

"Ames started at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1962 in a low-level position. By 1969, he was promoted to case officer and began work on his first assignment in Ankara, Turkey. Although Ames worked many interesting cases in the years that followed, his personal life was going downhill. The financial stress of an upcoming divorce and his girlfriend Rosario's luxurious standard of living forced Ames to consider a way to supplement his Agency income.

On April 16, 1985, Ames walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., and offered secrets to the KGB for money. At the time, Ames was working in the CIA's Soviet/East Europe Division. He was extremely knowledgeable about the Soviet intelligence services and had access to all cases of-and plans for-CIA penetration of the KGB and Soviet military intelligence.

Beginning in the summer of 1985, Ames met regularly with a Soviet diplomat who acted as the go-between for Ames and the KGB. Ames first met the diplomat through the Agency's operationally sanctioned attempts to recruit him as an intelligence source. In this manner, Ames provided the KGB with all he knew about Agency plans involving the Soviet Union. The information he gave the KGB compromised at least 100 operations and endangered the lives of dozens of Soviet agents.

During this same time period, CIA spies targeted against the Soviet Union began disappearing at an alarming rate. The CIA realized it had a problem. In 1986, the Agency launched an investigation into the cause of the disappearances.

During his nine years of spying, Ames received payments from the Soviet KGB that totaled $2.5 million. . Ames is the highest paid spy in American history.

Ames was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole." 

Like Hanssen, Ames was able to use his access, authority, and intimate knowledge to work as a mole over a long period of time.  The following broadcast from the time of his capture details his motivations and some of the very real consequences of his actions.  It also highlights the difficulty of finding and prosecuting insiders, especially moles, as well as the time afforded to the insider to wage his attack.


Watch ABC Video of the Ames Case

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