Wippl Reviews Book Exploring Cold War-Era Counterintelligence Investigations

Joseph Wippl, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, published an article in the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence reviewing The Fourth Man: The Hunt for a KGB Spy at the Top of the CIA and the Rise of Putin’s Russia.

In the book, author and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Robert Baer tells the full, gripping story of perhaps the greatest traitor in American history, often referred to as the Fourth Man. Spies and moles may seem like bygone cold war history, but with Russia again a misunderstood belligerent power, the skeletons America would rather keep hidden are emerging, and as Robert Baer shows in this reporting, they matter as much now as ever.

In his review, titled “Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Man or Woman,” Wippl discusses his personal experience working with Baer as well as the “Ames Investigation,” which sought to assess the damage Directorate of Operations officer Aldrich “Rick” Ames had done through his espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. Wippl also covers the post-Ames investigation which aimed to identify the “Fourth Man,” a State Committee for Security (KGB) spy in the top ranks of the CIA. While Baer’s book does not acknowledge who the “Fourth Man” was, Wipple still describes it as a provocative piece of “interesting speculation based on unanswered questions.”

An excerpt:

What SIU came to investigate was the identity of the “Fourth Man” to explain the anomalies of the Ames espionage case. Bannerman and her team’s use of profiles and matrices were professional. They were led by guidelines established by David Blee, a prestigious veteran of the Office of Strategic Services and Soviet Union division chief, to ferret out a penetration of the CIA. To summarize, his guidelines were to follow every lead to its end, to determine the reliability of every source, to be led by the evidence, and never to speculate by guessing. The application of Blee’s rules to almost any problem of any kind would be useful. Baer’s description of the methods used to find the ‘Fourth Man’ and the personnel involved is the best part of the book.

The full review can be read on the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence’s website

Joseph Wippl is a former CIA officer. He spent a 30-year career as an operations officer in the National Clandestine Service (NCS). On assignments in CIA headquarters, he served as the Deputy Chief of Human Resources, as the Senior NCS representative to the Aldrich Ames Damage Assessment Team, as Chief of Europe Division, and as the CIA’s Director of Congressional Affairs. Prior to his arrival at Boston University, he occupied the Richard Helms Chair for Intelligence Collection in the NCS training program. Wippl has taught at BU since 2006, and speaks and writes widely on issues regarding intelligence. Read more about him on his Pardee School faculty profile