A Spy Story: Ames, Blood Money and Me

If you’ve read my book, Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames,you already know that I was able to interview the CIA traitor, Aldrich Ames, for eleven  days without government censors listening to our conversations.    This is because federal  prosecutors had notified everyone – Ames’ defense attorneys, the FBI, the CIA, and Justice Department – that Ames was not to be interviewed by the media, except for the officials who mattered the most — the deputies in charge of the jail.

When the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case discovered that I had slipped into the jail, he was not happy.

Ames asked me to go to Moscow and gave me a handwritten letter to show his KGB (now called SVR) handlers. He also told me his “parole,” which in spy lingo, is the secret word that only his SVR contact would know. Using that word would verify that he’d sent me.

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Controversial OP Ed in USA Today

I wrote a blog not long ago about Arthur Walker whose brother, John Walker Jr., got him to spy for the KGB during the Cold War.  John also groomed his own son, Michael, and recruited his best friend, Jerry Whitworth, as Soviet spies.

Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring was my first book, a national bestseller and a five hour mini-series on CBS.

I’ve always felt that Arthur was gullible and easily mislead by his brother. Click to continue…

NAMI and Drug Makers’ $$$

As a Washington Post reporter, I was trained to “follow the money” so last year when the New York Times published a story about how the National Alliance on Mental Illness had received $23 million from drug makers between 2006 to 2008, I winced. The driving force behind the story was Iowa Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley who was using his congressional powers to investigate the drug industry’s influence on the practice of medicine. 
NAMI’s critics were quick to attack, arguing that NAMI was in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies and that is why it endorsed the so-called “medical model,” which blames severe mental illnesses on chemical imbalances in the brain; backs Assisted Outpatient Treatment, which enables judges to forcibly medicate selective persons who have a history of violence or of not taking medications that help them; and believes that mental disorders can strike children as well as adults.
Obviously, all of us who support NAMI would prefer to have more of an arm’s length relationship with drug makers.
But I don’t believe for a second that drug makers control NAMI and, if I did, I would resign from it.

Real Hannibal Lectors, Brain disorders, and A New Book

I’ve been asked what I am writing now and while many authors are reluctant to talk about projects before they are completed, I am going to share some news with you. My new book is tentatively called The Serial Killer Whisper  and will be published by Simon and Schuster next year. 

I don’t want to give away too much because there should be tremendous media interest when the book is released and I do not want to undercut that.

But here are some highlights.

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Of Your Books, Which Is Your Favorite?

Which book that you’ve written is your favorite?
It’s a question I get asked a lot. 
Answering it isn’t as easy as you might think. For an author, picking a favorite book is a little like asking a father if he loves one of his children more than the others. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but when you spend several years of your life consumed in writing a book, the finished manuscript becomes much more to its creator than ink, paper, or in today’s world, electronic text.

Putin says “Traitors always end badly” But “illegals” can end up in Playboy

“Traitors always end badly. They finish up as drunks, addicts, on the street…”
This is what Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said recently during a visit in the Ukraine. He also told reporters that he had met earlier in Moscow with the ten Russian “illegals” who had been expelled from the U.S. for being agents of the Russian government.
While Putin said the illegals would “have interesting, bright lives,” he explained that traitors never are happy after they betrayed their homelands.