In his book, The Fourth Man: The Hunt for a KGB Spy at the Top of the CIA and the Rise of Putin’s Russia (Hatchette Books, 2022), and in numerous subsequent media engagements, Robert Baer purports to tell the story of CIA’s hunt in the mid-to-late
1990s for another highly damaging Russian mole in its ranks in the aftermath of the February 1994 arrest of Aldrich Ames. It is based primarily on a few key named sources, retired CIA and FBI counterintelligence officers who had some involvement with the investigation, as well as the usual panoply of anonymous sources and outside observers and experts cited in books of this type. Baer paints an ugly picture of an aborted investigation hamstrung by careerist senior officers and sabotaged from the inside by the very mole the investigators were looking for. He all but asserts that this mole, who has never been officially identified and caught, is none other than Paul Redmond, the CIA’s legendary, decorated spy catcher and the senior CIA manager of counterintelligence during this time.
I have never talked to Baer, but I can speak with some authority about the joint CIA-FBI investigation looking for this Russian mole. In June 1995, I joined CIA’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which was charged with working with the FBI to find a Russian penetration of CIA. I was an active participant in this espionage investigation codenamed GRAYSUIT until FBI supervisory Special Agent Robert Hanssen was uncovered as a Russian spy and arrested in February 2001. I served as the chief of SIU during 2008–14 and had access to all its historical and contemporary records. After I retired in 2014, I wrote for CIA a highly
classified, in-house history of the SIU from its pre-Ames antecedents until Hanssen’s arrest. It includes a detailed discussion of the GRAYSUIT investigation.
What I write below is from memory and is not a chapter-and-verse book review, nor is it a response to all of Baer’s assertions in his many public comments about his book. I do not address events in the book completely outside my knowledge, such as the alleged unsanctioned and likely quite illegal espionage investigation conducted by some of the author’s sources under the witting protection of a CIA division chief. I will point out the book’s key factual errors, which render it an unreliable account of what actually happened in the GRAYSUIT investigation during the period Baer covered. I also show how these errors fatally undercut the book’s sensationalist implication that Paul Redmond was probably a Russian mole, Baer’s “Fourth Man.”