THE WHITE HOUSE

                     Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                  February 22, 1994

                 Statement by the Press Secretary

     The Justice Department today announced the arrest of a 
veteran, mid-level employee of the CIA and his wife on charges of 
conspiracy to commit espionage.  This ten-month investigation 
culminated in the arrest of Aldrich Hazen Ames and Maria del 
Rosario Ames.  Since late 1991, Ames had served in the CIA's 
Counter-narcotics Center.

     The President views this as a very serious case involving 
our national security.  He has expressed his appreciation to the 
FBI and the CIA for their successful efforts to crack this 
difficult case.  The President has instructed the State 
Department to lodge a strong official protest with the Russian 
Government.  Secretary of State Warren Christopher has called in 
the Russian Charge d'affaires for this purpose and our Ambassador 
to Russia Tom Pickering is contacting senior officials of the 
Russian government in Moscow this evening for the same purpose.

     The President has instructed National Security Advisor 
Anthony Lake, working with Director of Central Intelligence James 
Woolsey and others, to lead a coordinated examination of the 
national security implications of this case.  

     During the painstaking investigation, the Administration 
took every precaution to limit potential damage to the national 
security.  The President and National Security Advisor were 
apprised of the investigation as it was carried out.

     I cannot comment on the legal aspects of the case against 
Mr. and Mrs. Ames.  I would refer any questions in this regard to 
the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.