An insider's critique

February 18, 1996

Since the preposterous plot is not meant to be taken seriously, even by the characters who struggle in its contradictory meshes, Safire concentrates his considerable energies on stuffing their mouths with knowing references to journalism, publishing, high finance, the CIA and KGB ... One hinge of his plot involves the workings of presidential covert-action findings, no very mysterious process, but one that Safire is determined to get wrong ... His ignorance might serve an op-ed man well, but it's of no help to a novelist.

- From a book review by Aldrich Ames of "Sleeper Spy," an espionage novel by William Safire, published in The Hill, a Washington D.C. weekly. Ames is serving a life sentence for having passed secrets to the Soviets while working for the CIA.

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