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Shelton: WH Pushed For Testimony Change

From the Daily Beast:

White House Pressure for a Donor?

The Pentagon has worried for months that a project backed by a prominent Democratic donor might interfere with military GPS. Now Congress wants to know if the White House pressured a general to change his testimony.

by Eli Lake | September 15, 2011

The four-star Air Force general who oversees Air Force Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise. Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor.

The episode —confirmed by The Daily Beast in interviews with administration officials and the chairman of a congressional oversight committee —is the latest in a string of incidents that have given Republicans sudden fodder for questions about whether the Obama administration is politically interfering in routine government matters that affect donors or fundraisers…

Now the Pentagon has been raising concerns about a new wireless project by a satellite broadband company in Virginia called LightSquared, whose majority owner is an investment fund run by Democratic donor Philip Falcone.

According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company. And the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points: that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, officials said.

“There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in an interview. “The only people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.”

Shelton… gave his testimony Thursday, and made clear the Pentagon’s concern about LightSquared’s project.

The general told Turner’s committee that preliminary tests of a new LightSquared proposal to use only a portion of the band that it was licensed originally in 2004 would cause significant disruptions to GPS.

So what? It’s not like the military uses GPS for anything important.

He said the GPS spectrum was supposed to originally be a “quiet neighborhood,” meaning that lower strength signals could exist near the GPS spectrum. Speaking of the LightSquared plan, he said, “If you put a rock band in the middle of that quiet neighborhood, that’s a different circumstance.”

The White House confirmed Wednesday that its Office of Management and Budget suggested changes to the general’s testimony but insisted such reviews are routine and not influenced by politics. And it said Shelton was permitted to give the testimony he wants, without any pressure.

OMB “reviews and clears all agency communications with Congress, including testimony, to ensure consistency in the administration’s policy positions,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz

LightSquared has previously acknowledged it met with officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as it tried to shepherd the project, which is consistent with President Obama’s goal of trying to expand broadband wireless access nationwide

[LightSquared CEO,Sanjiv] Ahuja gave a little more than $30,000 to both the Democratic and Republican parties in the last two years. Falcone and his wife have gave more than $60,000 in 2009 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

At issue is a conditional Federal Communications Commission waiver granted in January to LightSquared to build cheap terrestrial wireless capacity in a section of the wireless spectrum close to the GPS bandwidth

The FCC license has come under scrutiny because technical experts have warned that LightSquared’s proposal to build tens of thousands of ground stations for a wireless network could drown out the GPS signal

Again, what’s more important? The military being able to use GP or Obama being able to reward some generous donors?

Are these busybodies trying to destroy the Democrats’ fundraising machine?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 16th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Shelton: WH Pushed For Testimony Change”

  1. Petronius says:

    Isn’t this basically the same GPS-jamming technology that the North Koreans are using to force down US planes?


  2. untrainable says:

    OMB “reviews and clears all agency communications with Congress, including testimony, to ensure consistency in the administration’s policy positions,”

    Is that not a tacit admission of guilt? To ensure consistancy in administration policy positions? How do you ensure consistancy if testimony doesn’t jibe with administration policy? You exert pressure to MAKE it jibe. And if that doesn’t work… you bring a knife… and if that doesn’t work, you bring a gun. Chicago thuggery 101.

  3. GetBackJack says:

    So, Shelton is seeking early retirement.

  4. proreason says:

    It’s almost as if the make believe media is deliverately letting some news about the Criminal in Chief slip into the public domain.

    What could that be all about?

    In unrelated news, James Carville is plaintively calling for Obama to do something about cow turd he has deposited on the country, and other querulous voices are actually daring to hint that the Moron should not run again.

  5. Papa Louie says:

    Obama scandals are increasing at an accelerated rate. The pace of corruption has gone from Fast and Furious to the speed of LightSquared!

  6. faxforsen says:

    New rumor is that various Chicago cronies, maybe BHOnehead himself, had money investeed with Falcone – breaking

  7. sticks says:

    Oh come come, whats all this fuss about a stupid GPS thingy? How important can it be?

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