ABC cancels spy series, but spies remain among us

Aldrich Ames and spy message

Aldrich Ames (left) and one of the messages he used to conduct spying for Russia while he worked for the CIA. (Images/FBI)

If you hoped to catch the second episode of the ABC miniseries The Assets on Thursday, you were disappointed. Despite previews being shown the week before, the network canceled the show about CIA officer turned Soviet spy Aldrich Ames. Ames was active in the 1980s and 1990s, but what many people never consider are the spies that remain among us.

Only one episode of The Assets aired in the North Florida area.

It was impossible to refrain from comparing the show to The Americans, a riveting spy series on FX about the same topic The Assets built upon—U.S.-Soviet spying during the cold war.

The ABC show tended to bog down when the lead character, CIA officer Sandy Grimes, headed home. ABC attempted to depict the conflict an officer faces in attempting to manage family and a job with an intel agency, but the manner it came off was simply dull. At times, the plot was hard to follow; it helped if you were familiar with the Ames case. It’s a surprise the network would whack the show so quickly, however.

Most Americans have no idea the U.S. still deals with espionage, and not just because of the War on Terror.

In 2011 the FBI posted information about Operation Ghost Stories resulting in the arrest of 10 Russian spies.

Technology is always a target in the corporate world, but the academic world has problems too.

In 2012, Bloomberg reported information from the FBI: “U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services.”

Why would universities be spy targets?

A Defense Dept. report said:

“Placing academics at U.S. research institutions under the guise of legitimate research offers access to developing U.S. technologies and cutting-edge research in such areas as information systems, lasers, aeronautics and underwater robots.”

Bloomberg added:

“Attempts by countries in East Asia, including China, to obtain classified or proprietary information by ‘academic solicitation,’ such as requests to review academic papers or study with professors, jumped eightfold in 2010 from a year earlier, according to a 2011 U.S. Defense Department report. Such approaches from the Middle East doubled, it said.”

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves why those countries expanded their efforts so dramatically in 2010.

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Jan. 17, 2014)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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One Response to ABC cancels spy series, but spies remain among us

  1. Pingback: The Americans, season 3: Spy story like real life past and present | DAY ON THE DAY

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