updated 12/26/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/26/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
Almost as astonishing as the damage Ames did were the warning signs the CIA ignored. The agency suspected it had a mole in its midst, yet ignored the fact that Ames and his wife, Rosario, 42, were living the high life on his $69,000 salary. In 1989, they paid cash for a $540,000 Arlington, Va., home and filled it with expensive art. Ames was caught after he carelessly tossed a secret document into his home trash bin in 1993.
Last October, Rosario—who knew of Rick's activities—was sentenced to five years and three months. Now serving a life term without parole in Pennsylvania's Allenwood prison, Ames seems to have only one regret: that the Soviets so quickly arrested the agents he named, thus tipping off the agency to his betrayal. Had I known they were going to do that...," he said in a jail-house interview, "I would have passed them out one by one."