04:15:11 AA: This is nonsense, this is nonsense. there is no question... well, I'm no specialist, so I can't speak of my own knowledge, but I certainly was told by many that, for example, Tolkachev's production amount... could indeed be described as "war winning". And I... you know, I see no reason to quarrel with that - I mean, such things are generally exaggerated, but I mean, the nature of it suggests to me that there is a lot to be said for that. But again you have to put it into context. The likelihood of war, the nature of a war that might take place in Central Europe, with the Soviets pouring through the Fulda gap - this is this situation in which things would come off the shelf that had been put there because of Tolkachev, and the war would be won. This is an interesting debate for historians. well, historians don't really like to carry on those kinds of speculative debates, but you could certainly argue that the likelihood of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe was extremely, extremely low that they simply had no intention of carrying one out. No one can realistically conceive of conditions in which they would do so. the outcome of a battle in Central Europe is entirely speculative, Sir John what's-his-name notwithstanding. There's a series of books written in the Seventies, at the height of this spurious debate over military capabilities. most people, I think most specialists that you would talk to from the military and then experienced journalists, and probably think-tank people, would say that there was simply no question that NATO would have won the air war in a few days anyway. The combination of capabilities and tactics and weapons were such that it wasn't really balanced on the knife-edge of avionics. so there is this sense in which I would put this into the balance very heavily, and I wouldn't have, when we put it that way. Tolkachev was compromised before I was dealing with the Soviets; but had he not been, I don't think... you know, this consideration would not have figured in the not too precise calculations I was making at the time.
INT: That was interesting, but I don't know that an ordinary audience would have understood the complex way in which you put it.
AA: I'm trying to get around... I have no idea what I can say about Tolkachev and Tolkachev's production.
INT: No, I know, because nobody is quite certain of the dates and (unclear). But it's a terribly important point, and I think we should try and find a way in which you could get to it without necessarily being specific about which name, and consequently which date, and which ties in with you and which ties in with (unclear name) or whoever, (or the other mysterious factors?). What you're suggesting is that at a time when the CIA had a sort of boom-time in inside sources, you did not feel you would bring a Soviet victory one jot closer by selling the store.
INT: And that involved a calculation on your part, presumably, which would be a professional calculation, not simply a moral question but a practical question: "By doing this, do I arm my neighbor to (unclear) knife me?"
AA: That's right.
INT: And the answer is that it doesn't figure with you. Now can you (Overlap) point to why ...
04:19:55 AA: (Overlap) No, no, the answer was that no, it does not enable (Overlap) let's say the Soviet Union to achieve political or military victories.
INT: Find a way of saying that, Mr. Ames, which, as it were, is a complete answer in itself, which might be as Journeyman, if you like - that's to say that "In thinking about any other names, one of the questions I had to work out was: by doing so, would I...?"... This is an important to me.
04:20:31 AA: At the time that I handed over the names and compromised so many CIA agents in the Soviet Union, at the time that I did that I had made a calculation, if you will, not conscious at that time, but had come to the conclusion that the loss of these sources to the United States Government, or to the West as well, would not compromise significant national defense, political, diplomatic interests, as I saw them. This calculation - or this belief, perhaps is better put - this belief grew out of my experiences in my profession, in my political outlook on the world, my own assessment of where things stood between the Soviet Union and the West. And I would say that this belief of the non-injurious nature of what I was doing... this belief was not a calculation that I made that then enabled... that then justified my turning the names over. Rather, it was a kind of a precondition, that having this belief then allowed or permitted me to do what I did for much more personal reasons. Had I not had that conviction or that belief, that strong belief that this was harmless apart from sort of institutional bureaucratic interests - had I not had that belief, I don't know that I could have done what I did. (Pause) And in fact, that reasoning may have little support in just observing that certainly thousands of people in sensitive positions in the United States, in Britain or in the former Soviet Union, had all kinds of personal problems, need for money, need for this, need for that, to the extent that their whole lives... they wrecked their lives over them, but only a vanishingly small number found themselves able to try to solve their problems in the way that I did. So...... the damage... This is why, for example, I said in court a long time ago that I didn't see that the Soviet Union was significantly helped by the information I gave them, nor that the United States was significantly harmed. This is an artful formulation and conforms to the law, the espionage law in this country but I wasn't so conscious of that at the time. But it reflects this belief that grew out of my professional and personal and political thoughts and (Overlap) thoughts and experience.
INT: How would you formulate that now? It's interesting, but could you say... you've obviously thought about it since... without necessarily going back to the court case, how would you formulate that thought now?
04:25:11 AA: Oh, I would formulate it in pretty much the same way. I think it's a good formulation that the Soviet Union was not significantly aided in its policies, in its purposes (Overlap) and intentions... Yes.
(Coughing - apologies)
INT: Sorry, you're going to have to start again.
INT: Formulate for me, please, your judgment about the degree to which the Soviet Union was assisted, if you like, technically and in terms of being brought close to victory, or whatever one wants to say, by your actions.
04:26:00 AA: Well, I... well, first of all, the Soviet Union did not achieve victory over the West, so the question is: was my information inadequate to help them to victory, or did it play no particular role in their failure to achieve victory? I mean, these questions are useful in trying to eliminate what effect it did have. In my own view, it certainly helped it helped the counterespionage organs of the Soviet Union in the First Chief Directorate, and then in the Second Chief Directorate, and in the Third Chief Directorate for that matter, too; it helped them to carry out their duties, which is to identify, find and prosecute people who've broken Soviet laws. Certainly it helped them. It certainly helped those counterintelligence specialists in the KGB who wanted to understand how the CIA worked and what the CIA was all about. They found themselves, no doubt, with more information than they could ever possibly use in the short span of time left to them. Some information... you know, leaving the realm of names I did provide quite a lot of short- to middle-level foreign policy and national security policy information, and this is something that of course the press... I mean, names are all that counts... this is something that not only the press, but government debriefers, in debriefing me about these things, have very little interest; no one's interested really in knowing what policies or what... you know, what diplomatic initiatives or arms negotiations might have been compromised by me. These are areas that they have just briefly touched on; nobody's very interested in this. Now, in my own view, this is probably much more important. What uses the Soviets made of it, and then later the Russians, I simply don't have much view of. (Pause) There's another way of looking at it which might be a little odd, which might be to say, much as General Wolf put it to you in the context of Willy Brandt and Ostpolitik: perhaps my information hurt the Soviet Union more than it helped. I have no idea. It was not something I ever discussed with the KGB officers that I was dealing with. I have no idea how this mass of information, starting with the dramatic impact of names, and not really so much the names themselves but the organizations in which those names were embedded... how that shock was really felt and perceived and worked itself out. My guess is, is that the Agency and the SIS probably have a pretty decent idea of that by now from sources since, but I don't have any feel for that. there's no question in my mind, it had to have discredited... the KGB and the GRU tremendously. That is, whatever credit the First Chief Directorate and General Kryuchkov and others might get for at least having revealed this... for having ... no doubt they probably fell into the habit at some point or another - say, recruited me or whatever... get credit for that. But the overall effect had to be a devastating one on the intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union. Out of all of these names... almost all the significant ones were officers of the Soviet army and military intelligence service, and of the Committee for State Security, the sword and shield of the Revolution. Where were the Foreign Ministry guys? Well, we never... Foreign Ministry guys don't become agents. Very interesting question, outside the scope of this program, I think. But Party officials, the Foreign Ministry nerds, they tend not to volunteer to Western intelligence agencies; so this must have been a tremendous institutional shock, and a political shock to the Soviet leadership in 1985. And it's my guess it was probably as harmful, overall, a development to Soviet interests, if we could ever agree on a definition of what those interests were, as it was a help. (Pause) I mean, I've speculated - again it has to be pure speculation - that the impact of my reporting probably helped Gorbachev in his intra-Party struggle to push glasnost and to push these reformist