INT: You've touched on it already, but I'd be grateful for a slightly more directed response to the question of your own perception that these people themselves knew what they had got themselves into, that they knew the price; they themselves were in a betrayal of their country, and that in some senses they too had broken a taboo, and that they had removed some reason to be treated decently in a way...
AA: To be treated decently?
INT: Well, that...
05:21:50 AA: No one sacrifices that right, it seems to me. How do you mean that?
INT: I don't mean that they had sacrificed it, but that they had put themselves...
AA: Beyond the pale.
INT: ... beyond the pale by their actions. Now you've touched on it, you obliquely glanced off it a while ago, but I'd be very grateful if, again using (the word?) "succinct", you could direct yourself to your perception of what these people had in common.
05:22:16 AA: Sure. They all had in common the fact that they had decided to betray, not only the institution to which they owed loyalty, but the agents who had given their loyalty or had placed their trust in the KGB or the GRU, or in them personally, and that they betrayed that trust. This seems to me to be quite a case of similarity between themselves and myself. Where a lot of dissimilarity appears is in the varying motivations for which people betray trusts. I mean, there's a million reasons, and they can be mixed. And relatively few KGB or GRU officers, or other Soviets, relatively few - Tolkachev being an exception, one of the exceptions -, does it out of a desperation for money. I say relatively few. The fellow referred to in the court documents as C.K. Million - that's a very significant crypt - he did it for money. but many of them do it for a lot of other reasons, or for reasons additional to it; they're ideological reasons. It's very easy - and I don't mean it to be... used pejoratively, but it's very easy for a Soviet citizen to say, you know, "I'm against all of this (Laughs), and I need to do something about it." Now the fact that so few did, raises the interesting question of what kind of people are we talking about, and if you've talked about... Popov, you've heard some very interesting tales about where he came from and how he thought. These are very diverse, very various, and very hard to summarize, but they all had reasons why they felt able, first of all, to betray, I wouldn't say the country... I didn't feel I was betraying my country... but to betray the institutional loyalties and the personal loyalties of the people in the institution whom you work with, and of the agents of that institution who placed their trust in you and your institution - those are the betrayals I'm talking about. Now, while my motivation wasn't particularly ideological, I never felt I was betraying my country as I did this. I was betraying a whole series of other loyalties, though, the enormity of which came to me very soon - that is to say in, you know, the month or two afterwards, I realized what I had... you know, the enormity of what I had done in this sense. By the same token, Popov was not, in his view, betraying his country, he was betraying a political regime. Now I suppose if I were arguing that I did this to counter Reagan and Casey, maybe Penkovsky and I would look very similar. But I wasn't, you know. ...
INT: ... This is my professionalism - I'm still slightly aware that we haven't quite got a usable answer on this one, and I think we're going to have to do it again.
AA:Try it again.
INT: Try it again - because I mean, really, there's something you said in one of the books that really I'd just like you to say on film...
(Laughter & some overlapping talk)
INT: ... It is the point that you said that these guys knew what they were doing themselves, they had signed on for something...
INT: ... and they'd all done that, and they take the risk that this is going to happen. They'd done it to other people... and you did it to them, and it was the same process and it was part of the air that you guys in your profession breathe.
05:27:04 AA: That's right.
INT: Just like we get cirrhosis of the liver from drinking too much. (Laughter) And it's just the sort of thing that happens in your business. Now can you just, without as it were peeling off at the end of it, give me a finish at the end of the sentence, because it's a very important point, and...
05:27:21 AA: (Overlap) I see... I think I see what you're trying to get at. And the point is simply this: that men like Polyakov and the others, did what they did because they had what they considered sufficient reasons for doing so. What they did was, they gave up names, they gave up secrets, they gave up... what their countries, their governments, and the people in those countries generally considered deep, important secrets of tremendous weight; and they gave up people, they gave up the names of people who had placed their trust in them. I did the same thing, for reasons that I considered sufficient to myself. I gave up the names of some of the same people who had earlier given up others. It's a nasty kind of circle, with terrible human costs... and maybe a few political implications, but not much more. The human costs are the big ones. And on that level, you could argue they paid a higher cost, but we bought the same product.
INT: Let's stay for a second with Polyakov, because it's an interesting case. He's an interesting character, I think, and he spies for a very long period of time, because he joins about the time of Penkovsky, and it virtually takes you right back over nearly two decades of the Cold War. And of course, he's retired at the point when you give the names, so that is obviously one of the things that makes Sandy very upset about (inaudible)...
AA: Why is that?
INT: Well, because she has this picture of a guy in retirement...
05:29:54 AA: He deserved his retirement.
INT: Yeah, that's how she thinks...
05:29:59 AA: That's understandable.
INT: Her picture is that... "Why did Rick..." ... I wasn't going to come on to this yet, but since we're talking about it, that's the thing that she says - she says, "Why does Rick give up the name of a guy who, as it were, has signed off?" You know... like when you check out of a factory, you go "chin chin" for the last time, (in unison) he's got the gold watch... we said that at the same time... he's got a gold watch from two intelligence outfits, as it were; he is actually off the payroll, he's sitting in his dacha outside Moscow with his grandchildren; there's a human... you know, you've talked very eloquently about the human price is a severe one... but put in those terms, it's like that was unfair.
05:30:48 AA: Of course it's unfair. Had a KGB officer turned me in, which appears not to be the case, I could be sitting here saying, "That's really unfair," couldn't I? I mean, this is of no account. You know, Sandy is a headquarters officer; she's never worked in the field. ... some of the people who worked on the investigation of me, worked in the field on Polyakov, and I'm sure their feelings are as strong and as strongly held as Sandy's. But it's awfully easy for people in the Agency who are not familiar with how things work, I'd say, in the field, to idealize and to draw a little picture of "He deserves his retirement with his grandchildren," when for 20 years or longer he had done what he had been doing. Life isn't like that. You know, I should have retired in 1991. I could have. I was having too much fun in my job, really, to do it. But... and then I would make the same... or I could claim to make the same (Laughs) ... same plea: "Don't we deserve retirement?" No, we don't. Life doesn't extend us that courtesy. ... and of course ... it's as if Sandy is saying, "Rick Ames didn't extend him that courtesy." Well, let me tell you... I mean, was it Polyakov?... I think it was Polyakov... no, or maybe it was Popov who turned in a retired American girl. You know, what can we say? We can get into the reasons, you know, that everyone thinks that people do things, or attribute to them. I was really struck. In a discussion of trading - it might have been on an American news program like Nightline - they had a little panel, and Bill Colby was there, and someone raised the question of, "Well, you know, what if a former KGB officer, or an SVR officer of Russia today, were caught spying - you know, would they trade Ames for him?" And Colby had a short answer which startled me a little bit. Colby is the only director of Central Intelligence who ever really worked in the field as a case officer - you know, Dick Helms really didn't -... and he was seen as a guy who at least understood, you know, agent operations and things like that. But Colby had a short answer to that - he said, "We don't trade traitors for traitors." And that's the question for someone like Sandy, who says he deserves his retirement, who tries to place that kind of differential burden on it. I mean, there are differential burdens, but this is not one of them. The official view, and the personal view, is both are traitors: I'm a traitor, just as Polyakov was a traitor. Now Polyakov didn't consider himself a traitor; I don't consider myself a traitor. but that, you know... that doesn't play.
INT: The question about being in the field - I mean, one of the things that was an interesting thing, something that both Donald Jameson and Murphy were talking to us about, was about agent losses in the infiltration operations in the Forties and Fifties, and I've seen television programs (unclear) my colleagues, whom I like and whom I trust, who go into those agent losses of MTS people, and so on and so forth, with a kind of, as if people in the Agency in those days were boiling babies alive. In other words, how could you have sent an agent to their death, how could you have persisted in dropping agents into Latvia and Albania? Now I've thought about it, we've thought about it rather long and hard, and have realized the context of the Albanian operations and the Latvian operations, and the operations into Russia during that period, which were almost all doomed and failed, was of course the experience in the Second World War, in which agents were dropped not in their ones or in their twos or in their fours or in their tens, but in their thousands, behind enemy lines, where they lived or they died or they suffered, or some just took the money and went and married a girl in a village and they emerged at the end of the war as great resistance heroes, and everything, all human life is there. But that's the context. So that if you went up to somebody, a young CIA officer in the Forties, and said, "Isn't this terrible, what you're doing, dropping...?" You would be like a guy from Mars.
INT: Now the reason I preamble that, arises out of what you were saying about you and Polyakov. Do you think that there is something about agents operating, I mean people with experience in the field, and who have had to think about these questions, and who have had to deal with questions that most of us never go a million miles near, to do with suborning and subverting and persuading people to tell lies on their boss or their wife or their husband or their mum, or whatever it is, and that in effect there's a short-circuiting approach that you people could make, that we can't make, and when we see it we are horrified by it, and we use words like "traitor" and "betrayal" and "disgusting" and "appalling", but that actually you guys are operating a secret world, a secret language and a secret kind of... Now if your answer is going to be long, he's going to have to change the cassette, so let's change the cassette.