Traitor Aldrich Ames told two congressmen he was frightened of lie detector tests and might have thought twice about spying for the Russians if the CIA had conducted them more frequently.
Ames managed to get through two CIA polygraphs after he began spying in 1985. But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Dan Glick-man said Ames made it clear he feared the tests."He was able to work through them," Glickman said. "But it's an important point we have to consider. What he says is, `They scared me and they're going to scare people out there."'
Glickman, D-Kan., and the Intelligence Committee's senior Republican, Rep. Larry Combest of Texas, interviewed Ames for two hours Monday night in his jail cell in suburban Alexandria, Va.
Their visit followed an unpublicized one Friday by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz.
Glickman said Ames told the congressmen if the CIA had conducted more frequent lie detector tests, he might have been less likely to spy for the former Soviet Union.
"If he had thought they were going to polygraph frequently, he would have thought twice about what he was doing with the Russians," Glickman said in an interview Tuesday.
Ames, a 31-year CIA veteran before his arrest in February, has admitted spying for the Soviets for eight years beginning in 1985 and was paid about $2.5 million. He has been sentenced to life in prison but is being interrogated outside Washington before being moved to a federal prison.
Glickman said the purpose of the interview was to gain insight into how Ames got away with the espionage for so long and whether the CIA and FBI could make any internal changes that would reduce the chances of a repeat.
The clear impression Glickman got was that Ames wasn't too worried about getting caught.
"He was not particularly careful on how he lived his lifestyle, or how he spent his money," Glickman said. "The impression was if you're a perfect spy, you could get away with it forever."
According to House Intelligence Committee aides, Ames passed a CIA polygraph test in 1986, a few months after giving the Soviets information that led to the executions of at least 10 people.
The FBI later determined that Ames may have given a false answer to a question about whether he had ever been recruited to spy for a foreign country, but nothing was done about it at the time.
In 1991, the committee aides said, a polygraph test showed Ames answered untruthfully when asked if had any unauthorized contacts with foreigners. But he was allowed to talk his way into taking a second lie detector test, which he passed.