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Rosario Ames will be sentenced a month later than planned so officials can continue interrogating her husband, Aldrich Ames, about his nine years as a spy for Moscow inside the CIA.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton of suburban Alexandria, Va., postponed Rosario Ames' sentencing for aiding her husband from Friday to Sept. 23. He acted on a joint motion by the government and her attorney, William Cum-mings.The delay will "allow the continued debriefing of Aldrich Hazen Ames," the U.S. attorney's office said.

The FBI has finished questioning Ames, but a CIA damage assessment team needs more time with him to complete its work, according to two government officials who requested anonymity.

"We didn't oppose it," Cummings said. "They're the ones who aren't fully satisfied. To the extent he's not fully debriefed, it could affect her sentencing."

Ames pled guilty last April and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His plea bargain with the government provides that if he tells the government all he did, his wife will be sentenced to 63 to 72 months in prison. With time off for good behavior, she could be released in 41/2 years to resume caring for their 5-year-old son, Paul, who is living with Rosario Ames' mother in Colombia.

Ames, a 31-year veteran CIA officer, was transferred Aug. 11 from the Alexandria Jail to the new, high-security U.S. Penitentiary at Allenwood, Pa.

"Ames' debriefing has gone satisfactorily," Justice Department spokesman John Russell has said. Two government officials said no one has concluded Ames is lying.

Cummings compared the debriefing extension to "extending a United Way campaign to reach the top."