It is obvious that you are going to need the services of a public relations team with ample experience in damage limitation.

No doubt you have heard of our firm, KGB Associates. Among our more substantial successes, I might point out just a few of the more recent: the rehabilitation of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as 'humanitarian leader';the presentation of our ex-client Fidel Castro as being in love with Hillary Clinton; the promotion of France to a front-line, to use your parlance, 'hawkish' state; the visit of Gerry Adams to Washington; the image manipulation of Vladimir Zhirinovsky (our clients in this case, you will have noted, were German bankers); and many others.

Among our chief advantages in bidding for this contract is our prolonged contact with Aldrich Hazen Ames and his charming lady wife. Until the late distressing events of 1989, which forced us into private enterprise, we had close and frequent contact with the couple. Indeed, we've just read some of our correspondence in the New York Times.

Here are the bare bones, as we see them, of the campaign we propose:

In answer to the question of why you transferred many hundreds of agents to the work of combating drugs, instead of conducting foreign intelligence - or dezinformatsiya, which we proudly invented - you should emphasise that this was legitimate activity; most intelligence agencies are players in this trade, and how better to infiltrate enemy spies than through purveying illicit substances. The precedent here would be Manuel Noriega: we know, and understand, why you felt it necessary to invade Panama to remove him. He knew too much about 'the Firm' and we would have done the same.

We think you could successfully deal with the charge that perhaps you should have noticed the purchase of a dollars 540,000 home, a Jaguar, much capitalistic stock and the running up of nearly half a million bucks on their credit cards. You should simply point out that most honest, decent Americans consider these the ordinary fruits of your wonderful system (the American Dream, which we all believe in now). We thought a campaign along the lines of 'Nothing is too Good for a Spook' might arouse a sympathetic reaction. Alternatively, you might gain sympathy by pointing out how difficult it is (we know) to live in Washington on a mere dollars 70,000 a year.

Finally, we think it should be made clear that the KGB was never 'stingy'; and you can minimise your failure on this occasion by pointing out that many have been paid far more than Mr and Mrs Ames. Of course we would be willing, for a sum, to divulge their names.

Yours sincerely,

KGB Associates

(Photograph omitted)