BOISE – Idaho’s freshman U.S. senator says he plans to run for re-election in 2014.
Sen. Jim Risch confirmed his intentions Thursday. Risch – a 70-year-old former state senator, lieutenant governor and Idaho’s 31st governor – won his first term in 2008 when he collected more than 57 percent of the vote to beat Democrat Larry LaRocco.
Risch says the goals of a second term would be similar to those of his first four years in office – limiting the role of the federal government and reducing the federal deficit.
NSA closing Yakima listening post
YAKIMA – The National Security Agency is closing a secretive listening post it has quietly operated near Yakima since the early 1970s, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The electronic eavesdropping operation, located within the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center, has been linked to Echelon, a global surveillance network operated by the NSA.
The office of U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., confirmed the closure to the Yakima Herald-Republic on Wednesday. Hastings’ 4th District includes the NSA operation.
Hastings was informed of the pending closure last summer by the NSA, spokesman Neal Kirby said.
The closure is part of NSA’s effort to streamline and reorganize its operations, with some Yakima functions moving to Colorado, he said.
The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Kirby said an exact date of the closure was not available, and that the number of employees at the facility is considered classified.
Motorists on Interstate 82 can catch a glimpse of the operation in the distance.
The center includes several buildings and a collection of large white satellite dishes set amid the rolling, arid land of the military reservation north of Yakima.
Access is highly restricted. The training center, a 327,000-acre Army base used primarily for artillery training and target practice, does not mention the facility on its website. And the Army routinely refers any inquiries about the facility to the NSA, which is based in Fort Meade, Md.
The Yakima facility has been mentioned in several books on national security but otherwise hasn’t attracted widespread attention.
Strangling suspect pleads innocent
SEATTLE – The man accused of strangling and robbing his grandparents after they welcomed him home from prison pleaded not guilty Thursday in Seattle to two charges of aggravated murder.
The King County prosecutor has 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty but could ask for more time to make a decision.
Michael Chadd Boysen remains jailed without bail.
The 26-year-old is accused of killing 82-year-old Robert Taylor and 80-year-old Norma Taylor after they held a party for him at their Renton home.
Their bodies were discovered March 9 by their daughter – Boysen’s mother.
Boysen was arrested March 12 after a 10-hour standoff at Lincoln City, Ore., motel where the manager recognized him from news reports.
Boysen had served time in prison for burglary and robberies.