Spy Case Prompts Senate To Step Up CIA Scrutiny

By , Scott Pendleton, Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

PUNISHMENT meted out by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director James Woolsey to 11 senior agency officials has done little to appease lawmakers angry with the agency's performance in the worst spy case in American history.

In a report on the CIA's handling of the Aldrich Ames spy case, the Senate Intelligence Committee said the agency's low standard of accountability has made a repeat of the Ames tragedy ``all the more likely.''

The report faults agency officials for failing to spot warning signs, including apparent alcohol abuse, that Ames was unfit for the highly sensitive positions he held within the CIA. Within months after he went on the Kremlin's payroll, in 1985, the CIA's most valuable spies in the Soviet bloc were caught and executed. The problem was compounded when the agency failed to notify congressional oversight committees of the extent of the losses, which the report calls a ``disaster of unprecedented proportions.''

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Ames was sentenced in April to life in prison for selling US national security secrets to Moscow. During eight years as a paid informer for the Soviets, Ames betrayed more than 100 US and allied government intelligence operations.

- George Moffett

Perot roils Texas governor's race

TOMORROW will show whether Ross Perot is in step with the Texans belonging to his United We Stand America (UWSA) political watchdog group.

On Tuesday, Mr. Perot shook up the closely contested race for the governor's mansion by endorsing incumbent Democrat Ann Richards over Republican George W. Bush. On Friday, UWSA plans to reveal a poll of its members' preferences.

Perot called Governor Richards ``one of the greatest governors in the history of Texas'' and ``clearly the most qualified candidate.'' Her record in managing the state budget and bringing jobs to Texas is ``awesome,'' Perot said.

Richards said she was pleased to have the endorsement of ``someone who is the personification of change in government.'' As an independent candidate critical of government debt and gridlock, Perot won 20 percent of the popular vote in the three-way race for president in 1992, helping unseat George Bush.

``I guess [Perot] thinks everything is fine in Texas,'' George W. Bush responded. ``I do not, nor do many of his supporters.''

Bill Walker, director of United We Stand Texas Inc., noted that Perot's endorsement was personal and not made on behalf of UWSA. The organization does not endorse candidates, although its voter guides cast judgment on incumbents' records.

- Scott Pendleton

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