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23 August 2015

Echelon Yakima Research Station Disassembled

In April 2013, the Yakima Herald reported that the Yakima Research Station was
going to be shut down at some unspecified time in the future with its function moving to a facility in Colorado. The office of the Congressman in whose district
the facility is located was notified by the NSA in summer 2012 that the facility was going to be shut down. This was subsequently confirmed with the Navy posting an OPNAV notice of closure. The functions of the facilities will be moved to the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado and result in the loss of 100 or more jobs from the Yakima area. According to James Bamford, the facility's focus on satellite communications led to its closure. "That’s history now", said Bamford in 2013. "Cyberspace and [supercomputers] are the frontier."



Interception Capabilities 2000

By Duncan Campbell

45. Systematic collection of COMSAT ILC communications began in 1971. Two ground stations were built for this purpose. The first at Morwenstow, Cornwall, England had two 30-metre antennae. One intercepted communications from the Atlantic Ocean Intelsat; the other the Indian Ocean Intelsat. The second Intelsat interception site was at Yakima, Washington in the northwestern United States. NSA's "Yakima Research Station" intercepted communications passing through the Pacific Ocean Intelsat satellite.

46. ILC interception capability against western-run communications satellites remained at this level until the late 1970s, when a second US site at Sugar Grove, West Virginia was added to the network. By 1980, its three satellite antenna had been reassigned to the US Naval Security Group and were used for COMSAT interception. Large-scale expansion of the ILC satellite interception system took place between 1985 and 1995, in conjunction with the enlargement of the ECHELON processing system (section 3). New stations were constructed in the United States (Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico), Canada (Leitrim, Ontario), Australia (Kojarena, Western Australia) and New Zealand (Waihopai, South Island). Capacity at Yakima, Morwenstow and Sugar Grove was expanded, and continues to expand. ...

67. It now appears that the system identified as ECHELON has been in existence for more than 20 years. The need for such a system was foreseen in the late 1960s, when NSA and GCHQ planned ILC satellite interception stations at Mowenstow and Yakima. It was expected that the quantity of messages intercepted from the new satellites would be too great for individual examination. According to former NSA staff, the first ECHELON computers automated Comint processing at these sites.

6 May 2015

46°40'55.54" N 120°21'24.23" W


9 July 2013