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Ames' attorney: No plea bargain for now

By MICHAEL KIRKLAND

WASHINGTON -- The court-appointed attorney for accused spy Aldrich Ames said Thursday his client currently does not plan to plead guilty or consider a plea bargain.

Plato Cacheris said Ames, a former CIA official accused of spying for the Russians, 'is resisting the charges at this point.

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'There is no plea bargaining going on at this point (but) I'm keeping all options open,' he added before refusing further comment.

U.S. officials said Aldrich and his wife, Maria, who is also accused, will appear before a federal magistrate March 1 for 'a detention and preliminary hearing' in Alexandria, Va.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Helen Fahey said the couple will appear before U.S. Judge-Magistrate Barry Portz of the Eastern District of Virginia.

They are currently being held without bail in the Alexandria Detention Center.

Ames and his wife, who live in nearby Arlington, Va., have been charged with accepting $1.5 million to spy for Russia.

A federal complaint said Ames had worked secretly for the Soviet Union and Russia since 1985 and he betrayed Russians recruited to spy for the United States.

Ames recruited Russians to work for the United States from 1983 to 1985, according to documents filed by the U.S. attorney.

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Ames's latest position had been in the Counternarcotics Center at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., but the CIA said he was fired by Director James Woolsey after his arrest.

Ames is believed to be the highest-ranking CIA official ever to be accused of espionage against the United States, according to the Justice Department. However, a CIA spokesman described him as a 'mid-level' employee.

He joined the CIA in 1962. Court documents indicate his wife also worked for the agency as a 'paid source' in Mexico City.

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