Energy Secretary Orders Removal of Aide's Brother

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson yesterday ordered his department's director of counterintelligence, Edward J. Curran, to remove his brother from a $70-an-hour temporary job reviewing counterintelligence operations at the department's three nuclear weapons laboratories.

"While the secretary neither questions Michael Curran's qualifications nor believes anything improper was done, he does believe that there is a perception problem that warrants the corrective action," said Stu Nagurka, a department spokesman.

Richardson's move came after Curran acknowledged Tuesday that he had recommended his brother, a retired police detective for the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, for the job.

Danforth Appoints Deputy

Former senator John C. Danforth, the special counsel investigating whether the government covered up aspects of the 1993 Waco siege, appointed a deputy to head the inquiry's dealings in Washington.

Lawyer Stuart Levey, 36, "brings perspective and experience that will be important to our effort to conduct a first-rate investigation," Danforth said.

F-22 Compromise Sought

House-Senate negotiators last night were on the verge of a deal that would provide $1 billion for the Air Force to buy up to six test models of its coveted F-22 stealth fighter, congressional officials said. But they said the deal would not allow production of the final version of the ultra-sophisticated warplane until at least 2001.

A weeks-long stalemate over the $65 billion F-22 program has blocked progress on a nearly $270 billion bill financing the U.S. military in fiscal 2000, which begins Friday.

The deal would be a victory for House lawmakers, who have opposed purchasing the aircraft next year. It would be a defeat for the plane's Senate defenders and Lockheed Martin Corp., its prime contractor.

Farmer Premium Cut Backed

The House agreed to cut the premiums farmers pay for federally subsidized crop insurance, in hopes of getting more producers to buy the protection.

Legislation approved on a voice vote would lower the premiums by doubling the cost to taxpayers to about $3 billion a year.

The insurance now covers about 65 percent of the eligible acreage nationally.

It primarily covers losses from storms and severe drought, but some policies can protect against sharp drops in commodity prices. Many farmers say the insurance is too expensive for the coverage they get.

Raises for President, Hill

President Clinton signed legislation that will double the pay of future presidents and raise the salaries of members of Congress effective in January 2001.

The bill would double the salary of the next president to $400,000--the first presidential raise in 30 years--and provide 3.4 percent raises to senators and representatives, raising the annual pay for most members of Congress to $141,300.