The KGB’s Balance Sheet for Aldrich Ames

aldrich-ames-mailboxIn 1989, the KGB double Aldrich Ames finished his CIA posting in Rome. His handler Aleksey Khrenkov gave him a nine-page letter from the KGB, which included three Polaroid pictures of land in Russia which had been set aside for him. “I kept the damn note and the pictures,” Ames later told his biographer Pete Earley, “Don’t ask me why… I felt the KGB was being genuinely nice to me and I just didn’t want to destroy the letter or pictures.”

“Dear Friend,

this is Your balance sheet as on the May 1, 1989.

= All in all You have been apprpriated — 2.705.000$

= From the time time of oppening of Your account in our Bank December 26, 1986) Your profit is — 385.077$ 28c (including 114,468$ 94c as profit on bonds, which we bought for You on teh sum of 250,000$)

= Since December 1986 Your salary is — 300.000$

= All in all we have delivered to You — 1,881,811$ 51c

= On the above date You have on Your account (including 250,000$ in bonds) — 1535.077$28c.

P.S. We believe that these pictures would give You some idea about the beautiful piece of land on the river bank, which from now belongs to You forever, We decided not to take pictures of housing in this area with the understanding that You have a much better idea of how Your country house (dacha) should look like.

Good luck.”

Photograph: Replacement of the mailbox at 37th and R Sts. NW Aldrich Ames used to communicate with his KGB handlers. A horizontal chalk mark over the USPS logo requested a meeting.