Jean Vertefeuille, a former CIA officer known for her role in exposing CIA "Mole" Aldrich Ames, has died. She was 80.
Ames, currently serving a life sentence in prison, was a CIA officer who betrayed his country and the CIA by becoming a Russian spy and caused the death of many Russians who were helping the U.S. during the Cold War and Post-Cold War. Vertefeuille and Sandra Grimes recently published a book about their mole hunt in the CIA called Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed (Naval Institute Press).
Jean Vertefeuille's obituary ran in the New York Times today.
Jeanne Vertefeuille joined the Central Intelligence Agency as a typist in 1954 and then began inching up through the ranks, obtaining postings overseas. By 1986 she had become a midlevel expert on the Soviet Union and counterintelligence. She remained a quiet agency soldier, however — purposefully nondescript and selflessly dedicated. She lived alone and walked to work.
But if she was a gray figure at the agency, Ms. Vertefeuille was also a tenacious and effective one, and in October 1986 was asked to lead a task force to investigate the disappearance of Russians whom the C.I.A. had hired to spy against their own country.
Almost eight years later, the investigation led to the unmasking of a C.I.A. employee, Aldrich Ames, as one of the most notorious traitors in American history. He had sold out the Russian agents — at least eight were executed — for millions in cash. His downfall was in no small part owed to Ms. Vertefeuille (pronounced VER-teh-fay), who brought to the mission a deep knowledge of Soviet spycraft and of her own agency’s workings.
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