Circle of Treason

  • by Sandra V. Grimes, Jeanne Vertefeuille
  • Narrated by Janet Metzger
  • 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The hunt for a mole

Why were so many agents in the USSR being compromised to the KGB and executed? Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, longtime veterans of the CIA were in the forefront of a small group assigned to the mission, in early 1991 to expose the traitor (mole) in their midst. They give a detailed step by step account of the hunt and the arrest of Aldrich Ames. Ames was a 30 year veteran of the CIA and Directorate of Operations. They give credit to the people both CIA and FBI that worked with them on the project. They also discuss some of the other traitors uncovered during the time. I found it interesting that in the beginning of the book it was revealed that both women were college graduates, spoke several languages, but the only jobs open in the CIA to women at the time was as typist and secretary. They were hired and had to work their way up as areas were opened to women as the years went by. As I was from the same time frame I was well aware of this problem. It is nice to have the note in passing, written in a book, cause a look back at how far women have come in the work place. The book reveals it was the tedious attention to detail and the following of the money that finally caught Ames. They note Ames was a man that thought women were of no value in the work place so it was great he was caught by two women. I am sure that a lot of information was censored by the CIA but this book is of interest to us history buffs. Janet Metzger did a good job narrating the book.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Reads like a police report but interesting anyway

What made the experience of listening to Circle of Treason the most enjoyable?

Those expecting either a traditional linear storyline or page turner will be disappointed but that doesn't mean this take doesn't have its pluses. It is oddly structured - starting out with bios of the case officers who investigated and caught Ames, followed by biographical profiles of those he betrayed, then the investigation itself. Only toward the end of the book is there a profile of Ames. The reader is required to piece much of this into a coherent timeline/narrative. Taken together the reader gets an overall understanding of his crimes but less so about the man. Will hardly keep the reader on the edge of their seat but is enough to reveal the banality of the man, the doggedness of his pursuers, and the gravity of his crimes.


What does Janet Metzger bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Narration is okay but matches the "Just the facts M'am" tone if the book.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

A bit too dry for that.


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- Scott

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-26-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios