Date: Sun Feb 27 1994 09:21:10
From: Thomas Yoha
Subj: Ames Passed Polygraph
As seen on a wire service Saturday, February 26, 1994;
Report: Ames Passed Polygraph Test
WASHINGTON-5:16 PM (ET) 2/24/94-Accused CIA turncoat Aldrich
Ames passed agency polygraph tests twice during the time he is
suspected of working for Moscow, and the Senate Intelligence
Committee plans to review the agency's internal security
procedures, officials said today.
Meantime, the CIA suspects that secrets allegedly sold by the
former counterintelligence officer led to the deaths of at least
10 Soviets working for US intelligence, according to 1 official
familiar with CIA and FBI briefings to the House and Senate
In an effort to detect traitors, the CIA tries to administer
polygraph tests every 5 years to its employees, but there have
Ames, alleged to have worked for the Soviets and then the
Russians from 1985 until his arrest Monday, was tested on schedule
without his spying being discovered, according to a government
official who declined to be identified by name. Those tests
occurred in 1986 and 1991, according to another official.
"Doesn't the machine work? Or is it that easy to beat?" asked a
congressional official who had been advised that Ames' passed the
tests. "That's one area the Senate Intelligence Committee will be
One of the government officials said successful polygraphing
depends on the questions.
"They ask you if you are a spy. It's about that blunt," said
the congressional official. This official said the committee also
has questions about CIA and FBI cooperation on the case. CIA
Director James Woolsey and Attorney General Janet Reno have hailed
the cooperation, but Reno said today she did not know how well
they worked together before her arrival last year.
Cooperation has been fine the past couple years, the
congressional official said, but the government doesn't have a
clear idea of the investigative effort from 1986-91, a period when
Ames far outspent his salary.
Government sources have said the Ames investigation began 2
years ago, but suspicion that a Soviet mole had penetrated US
intelligence was aroused in 1985, the year ex-CIA agent Edward
Howard defected to the Soviet Union while under FBI surveillance.
The Senate panel also wants more information about exactly how
and when Ames was recruited by the Soviets, including any role his
wife may have played.
In August 1985, Ames married Maria del Rosario Casas. When he
was stationed in Mexico City during 1981-83, she was a cultural
attache there for Colombia, her native land, and a paid CIA
Her attorney, William Cummings, said she is "devastated by the
distortions, out-of-context, selected statements and alleged
quotations in the government's affidavit along with the subsequent
press coverage." Cummings statement did not address a report by a
government official that she had begun cooperating after her
Ames' attorney, Plato Cacheris, said Ames was not talking with
authorities. Cacheris visited Ames in custody yesterday.
A hearing on the couple's continued detention without bail was
postponed until Tuesday.
Shortly after the arrests, the CIA informed Congress it had
reason to believe Ames' alleged disclosures had led to the deaths
of 10 US agents, according to another congressional official.
"We've been given a number, but at the same time we've been
told the damage assessment is just starting" and the death figure
could go higher. This official cautioned that it had not been made
clear that the link between Ames and the deaths could be proved.
In Moscow, Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Yuri
Kobaladze told the AP the reports of 10 deaths were
"There have been cases of intelligence officials who have spied
for the US and were unmasked and sentenced to death by firing
squad," Kobaladze said. Asked whether there have been 10 such
cases, he answered, "Certainly not."
On Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Warren Christopher rejected
calls in Congress to suspend US aid to Russia over the Ames
"American assistance is not charity," Christopher said. "We do
it because it is in the interest of the US" to promote political,
economic and foreign policy reform in Russia.
"Don't act shocked that there are spies in the world," Sen.
Patrick Leahy said in a Senate speech urging continued Russian
aid. "I hope if there are other Russian spies in the country, and
I fully expect there are, that we can catch them soon." The
Vermont Democrat chairs a foreign aid appropriations subcommittee.
Senate Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas had called for a
halt to aid to Moscow unless the Russians cooperate in the Ames
The Clinton administration is still awaiting a reply from
Moscow to its demand that Russia recall intelligence officials in
the US who dealt with Ames. "If they don't take action, we will,"
White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers has said.
(From The Associated Press)