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6 Spies Who Risked It All For Drugs, Fame, Sex, And Diamonds
Spies. Subterfuge. Clandestine operations. Nothing gets people going like a thrilling tale of espionage — it’s no wonder that movie franchises like the Bonds and the Bournes have seen so much commercial success. These real-life spies, however, aren’t nearly as badass — and none of them were patriotically or ideologically driven. These six spies committed espionage against the United States in the name of livin’ the high life: for the love of sex, drugs, diamonds, and fame.
Aldrich Ames, who compromised the second-largest number of CIA agents after Robert Hanssen, is one of the most notorious spies in U.S. history. A former CIA agent turned KGB mole, Ames was known for his rampant alcoholism and frequent love affairs, according to a congressional assessment of Ames’ espionage case and its implications on U.S. intelligence. After a messy and expensive divorce, coupled with his new lover’s expensive shopping sprees, Ames fell into massive debt. In an effort to alleviate his financial distresses and to continue impressing his mistress, Ames approached the KGB, and ultimately received over $4.6 million for the information he passed. Ames spent nine years as a KGB mole, spying from 1985 to 1994, and was eventually caught after a mole hunt surrounding a series of leaks pointed investigators directly to him.
Martha Dodd was a novelist and journalist — and also happened to be the daughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambassador to Germany. Throughout her young adulthood, Dodd was a Nazi sympathizer who frequently met with high-level members of the Third Reich, including Hitler himself, who she claimed to be “excessively gentle and modest in his manners” — according to author and researcher Shareen Blair Brysac in her book “Chasing Hitler.” Dodd eventually turned away from the Nazi philosophy, but was recruited by one of her many lovers to become a spy for the Soviet Union. This lover convinced her to sell State Department and embassy-related secrets to the Soviets, who later assessed her as an uncertain asset — referring to her as a “sexually decayed woman ready to sleep with any handsome man,” reported by authors Allen Weinstein and Vassiliev Weinstein in their book, “The Haunted Wood.” She spied on the U.S. from 1936 to 1957, and was eventually caught by an FBI informant who implicated her in his exposure of the Soble spy network.
Jonathan Pollard is the only American spy who was given a life sentence for providing information to an ally of the United States. As an analyst for the Naval Intelligence Command, he leaked U.S. secrets to Israel for diamonds, cash, and even “heritage” in 1987. According to NCIS, he also released classified materials on numerous occasions to South Africa, Pakistan, and China in an effort to advance his wife’s business. Pollard was busted when a colleague discovered him removing classified materials from their work center.
Robert Hanssen is a former FBI agent who spied for the Soviets and later the Russian Federation for over two decades. Hanssen, who caused what the FBI calls the “worst intelligence disaster in history,” says he wasn’t motivated by political ideology, only profit. He was paid $1.4 million in diamonds and cash throughout his years as a spy, and was eventually caught in 2001 while trying to cover up an investigation. Hanssen pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage, but avoided the death penalty in a plea deal. He is currently serving 15 consecutive life sentences in a federal supermax prison where he spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. He is portrayed by actor Chris Cooper in the 2007 drama, “Breach.”
You may remember Anna Chapman as the hot Russian redhead who was busted in a New York City spy ring — the Illegals Project. What’s intriguing about Chapman’s case in particular is that she turned herself in when she surrendered what she thought to be a passport meant for another spy. Since being deported back to Russia, she has enjoyed celebrity status and has even posed (scantily clad) for an erotic photo session in Russian Maxim. When a reporter from the Daily Beast ran into Chapman in Moscow and asked her for an interview, she reportedly replied with a grin, “Why would I need it? My popularity rating is high enough, I don’t need more publicity.” She even has her own fashion collection, her own action-figure doll, and a television series entitled “Mysteries of the World With Anna Chapman.”
Andrew Daulton Lee spied on the United States from the early to late 1970s with his childhood friend, TRW Inc. contractor Christopher Boyce, in order purchase drugs to further his dealing business. The two men sold U.S. satellite secrets to the Soviets as a team: Boyce would steal the documents, and Lee would transport them to Mexico City and hand them over to the Soviets. With his share of the money, Lee purchased heroin and other drugs that were hard to attain in the United States. Lee was portrayed by Sean Penn in the film “The Falcon and the Snowman,” which depicts his life as a drug dealer. Lee was caught in 1977, when he was arrested under the suspicion of killing a Mexican police officer. Under extreme duress, he confessed to being a spy for the Soviet Union and implicated himself and Boyce.
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.