ABC Series About Aldrich Ames Begins Tonight!

Actress Jodie Whittaker protrays my friend, Sandy Grimes, who helped catch Ames

Actress Jodie Whittaker protrays my friend, Sandy Grimes, who helped catch Ames

I’ve received a number of emails and calls this week about whether the ABC mini-series entitled The Assets is based on my book about CIA spy Aldrich Ames. The eight part television show that begins tonight is NOT based on my book, Confessions of a Spy: The True Story of Aldrich Ames. But because I am the only journalist who was able to interview Ames without the government’s knowledge and censorship (see Promises to Traitors Matter) it is a logical question.

The Assets is based on the book, Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Tratior Aldrich Ames and the Men That He Betrayed, written by Sandy Grimes and Jean Vertefeuille, two of the CIA employes who helped catch Ames.

Sandy is a good friend and so was Jean, who passed away last January. Both cooperated with me when I wrote my book and I encouraged them to write their own after mine was published. I gave their book a plug because I thought it was a terrific read that added important information about the CIA’s relationship with the Russians who were executed because of Ames’ treachery. (See  Fox Files To Show Interview About CIA Spy Aldrich Ames)  Ironically, it was Jean’s obituary that first got the attention of TV producers that led to The Assets. They wisely hired Sandy as a consultant.

I am eager to see how ABC will tell the story of Ames’ betrayal and am delighted that Sandy and Jean are getting national attention for the work that both of them did in helping catch him.  Although I have been distracted this month taking care of personal matters related to my mom’s recent passing, I did see an interview on Reddit that quoted Sandy as saying:

The motivators for spying always boil down to MICE: money, ideology, compromise/coercion, ego/extortion. They’re either in it for the financial gain (Such as many cold war spies like John Anthony Walker), ideological/religious/patriotism (As for most spies around the world), compromise/coercion (Such as spies which turn to avoid torture from their captors) or for their own ego (Such as Robert Hanssen )

As usual, she’s right, but I prefer a quote about American traitors that I was told by retired KGB General Boris Solomatin, perhaps the KGB’s Best Cold War Spy, shortly before he died.

“As far as the motives, there is no romance here. It is always for the money.”

Congratulations Sandy and good luck with your television series!

I’ll be watching!

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.