Bombshell: General accused WH of pressuring him to change testimony for Democratic donor

posted at 12:05 pm on September 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

With the White House already reeling over the Solyndra collapse, a new scandal may have erupted today that could make the disappearance of $535 million in taxpayer funds look like a paperwork glitch.  Eli Lake starts off his new gig at The Daily Beast with a huge bombshell — an accusation made to members of Congress from a four-star Air Force general that claimed the White House pressured him to change his testimony to boost a big donor to the Democratic Party:

The four-star Air Force general who oversees U.S. 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. Already, the FBI and a House committee are investigating a federal loan guarantee to a now failed solar firm called Solyndra that is tied to a large Obama fundraiser.

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. Gen. Shelton was originally scheduled to testify Aug. 3 to a House committee that the project would interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities, which control automated driving directions and missile targeting, among other things.

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, the officials said.

As Eli explains, it’s not unusual to distribute prepared Congressional testimony in draft form to other related agencies before giving the testimony.  The review gives everyone a chance to make sure that the facts are correct and the testimony is as accurate as possible.  But sending Shelton’s testimony to LightSquared would raise big red flags on its own — let alone the accusation that the White House attempted to dictate Shelton’s testimony to benefit LightSquared and their big donor.

Rep. Mike Turner told Eli that this was definitely an attempt to influence Shelton, bias his testimony, and essentially mislead Congress.  And that has a watchdog organization drawing parallels between Shelton’s accusation and the Solyndra collapse:

Melanie Sloan, who runs the nonpartisan ethics groups Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the emerging allegations about possible White House involvement in LightSquared’s matter seemed to mirror earlier allegations in the Solyndra case.

“With this new set of facts, it starts to sound like a pattern of the White House improperly pressuring people at agencies involving decisions that affect companies tied to donors and fundraisers,” Sloan said. “It’s always a problem when the White House is pressuring anyone’s testimony. I don’t care if you are a four-star [general] or a GS-15 [career employee], you should be giving your true opinion and not an opinion the White House is seeking for political expediency.”

Quite frankly, this would be a lot more blatant and much more troubling.  If the White House has been leaning on the military to mislead Congress in order to benefit Democratic donors, that indicates a whole new level of corruption, one that could seriously damage the non-partisan nature of civilian control of the military.  If Shelton sticks to this accusation, then Congress needs to hold immediate hearings into who exactly pressured Shelton — and from whom that person took his or her orders.

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I don’t know anything about the underlying issue so I can’t say this is a big deal. It certainly has the appearance of impropriety — the advance notice of the testimony given to company, on the whole, the politicizing aspect is not clear cut to me.

That said, I’d be more inclined to view Shelton’s take that of anyone in the WH, so it might be a big deal. I don’t see it as a bombshell, though, at least not yet.

Dusty on September 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM

BuckeyeSam on September 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

To the winners belong the spoils. Gerrymandering sucks, but it’s legal. If you want to change the rules, ungerrymander EVERY district – don’t expect the Republicans to hold the door open for Democrats. After all, it is our country’s future at stake, and our opponents are no gentlemen.

disa on September 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Gen. Shelton was originally scheduled to testify Aug. 3 to a House committee that the project would interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities, which control automated driving directions and missile targeting, among other things.

It’s almost as if the current administration WANTS to “interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Position Satellite capabilities.”

maryo on September 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM

[Dusty on September 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM]

I should have added that I made that comment in the context that this is a bigger deal than Solyndra, which is a clear cut case of maladministration.

Dusty on September 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

He was not only pressured to change his report, but it was leaked to the company ahead of time. That’s what I find more damaging.

strictnein on September 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Isn’t Lightsquared periphally related to the ATT/T-mobile issue? as in, they’re potential competitors for broadband wireless? Puts a whole new twist to that ball of twine. If the administration is intervening on this, what is the DOJ suit potentially about? JeffWeimer on September 15, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Sorry wrong quote in my previous thread, but it sure looks like Lightsquared has lots to lose if AT&T and TMobile combine.

Get ready for LightSquared broadband (Verizon and AT&T not fans)

AverageJoe on September 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

It’s almost as if the current administration WANTS to “interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Position Satellite capabilities.”

maryo on September 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM

That’s almost as ridiculous as wondering if Barry’s foreign policy isn’t aimed at isolating Israel inside an Islamist circle. For shame!

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

JeffWeimer on September 15, 2011 at 12:37 PM

LightSquared’s partners are listed on its web site. What does that tell ya?

petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I really look forward to the day that the Nixon footnote in the history books has a little company.

JEM on September 15, 2011 at 12:41 PM

by the time all the shenanigans of this admin are exposed, Nixon will be left far behind and will look like an amateur by comparison…and he won’t have any company in the history books I’m afraid…the current occupant of the WH is in a corruption league of his own :-), he might even lend his name to that corruption category :-)…

jimver on September 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

In a way, I can’t help but wish all these scandals (Solyandra, Lightsquared, etc.) could have kept until October 2012. I love the smell of October Surprise in the morning.

cynccook on September 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM

I bet there will be a lot more by then (assuming we still have the same president by then), because this is the way this administration does everything.

Alana on September 15, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Has Obama ever had a good week?

Chuck Schick on September 15, 2011 at 12:56 PM

KyMouse on September 15, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I don’t think you’re the only one interested in Palestine.

I don’t know if anyone knows what to say. Also, people might come to blows in the comments – maybe it is just too volatile.

John Bolton tweeted this AM that US should threaten again to cut off UN funding. That hope is so far away now it made me want to cry.

There is only One who can help Israel and keep its citizens safe.

yocheved on September 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

These recent revelations make one wonder about all the goings on in this administration that will never be revealed. Oh to be a fly on a White House wall…

scalleywag on September 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

attack waaaaatch

bridgetown on September 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

So while the administration’s crony capitalism and attempt to influence congressional testimony is indeed a BFD, it does lack the element of propping up a doomed company like we see in Solyndra

Maybe you’re missing the point. The General wanted to bring up the VERY real concerns that the continued deployment of 4G LTE in a “national blanket” would compromise the effectiveness of existing GPS networks and could make the GPS system unreliable for the military in the US.

For example, in hangers across the nation, military pilots can enter their starting points corresponding to where their plane is parked. This allows them to program their flight computers and such before they roll onto the tarmac.

You don’t want those flight computers suddenly moving the “GPS location” of the plane 40 ft off their actual location as soon as they roll out of the hanger. It’s even worse when they land and their actual location and their GPS location begin to stray from one another.

I don’t think 4G is going to make it in it’s current form without some major revisions. . . that’s the point the General was trying to make and the WH was trying to squash.

Revamping 4G would crush LightSquared, but the administration is committed to Lightsquared being the largest network and pushing out the competition.

Cronyism is one thing, knowingly impacting our national defense and ruining the civilian use of GPS is another. . . .it definitely is a BFD.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

More about Lightsquare network interferring with GPS from Wall Street Journal article on June 2nd.

Initial, unofficial tests by GPS users suggest that high-performance GPS equipment used by the aviation, defense and other industries would be more likely to be hobbled by LightSquared’s network than the cheaper devices used by most consumers.

LightSquared’s Wireless Network Interferes With GPS

The article quotes other investigations of issues with Lightsquare and questionable loans to Mr. Falcone. So, how much did Mr. Falcone donate to Obama?

AverageJoe on September 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Where’s the scandal? It’s not anyone involved wore a jacket with a snowmobile company’s logo on it.

Bruce MacMahon on September 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Generals have a responsibility to the mission and to be upfront and candid with their testimony. If Congress cannot rely upon this General’s testimony, then it rends the fabric of the civilian-military relationship. If the General is unduly pressured, he certainly should state such. If it is to an extent that it compromises his mission within the organization, then he should resign in protest.

ted c on September 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Yes, this was a career-ending position for a 4-star, even then. Props to him for speaking out…

Hopefully he’ll be allowed to end his tour in his current position and retire with grace, dignity and honor intact. Watch, however for pressure on him from the political appointees at the SecDef level and see when that retirement announcement comes. It will certainly be an indication.

He certainly won’t be the first to make a stand on principle. One of my AF heroes, Gen Ron Fogleman (who first articulated the AF Core Values still used today) and by doing so, either render himself ineffective (as Fogleman did) or be forced out:

http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj01/spr01/kohn.htm

OnlyOrange on September 15, 2011 at 1:01 PM

LightSquared’s partners are listed on its web site. What does that tell ya?

petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

That the AT&T and T-mobile merger won’t go through.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 1:01 PM

yocheved on September 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Interesting Saudi Comments…

Odie1941 on September 15, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Boss Emeritus is on top of it:

The Obama FCC took the lead in intervening on the donor, billionaire hedge fund manster Philip Falcone’s, behalf and granting his company called “LightSquared” one of those coveted Obama waivers from existing law. Then Obama officials reportedly pressured a general to alter his testimony about the company’s impact on military satellite transmissions.

Wooohooooo…

petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Errr, someone should tell the Obama administration that deflecting attention from the Fast and Furious scandal with Crony Capitalist scandals is not an ideal strategy.

Daemonocracy on September 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Oh, look. Falcone is also a regular White House visitor:
http://nlpc.org/stories/2011/03/25/obama-invested-company-got-sweet-deal-fcc

maryo on September 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM

AverageJoe on September 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

From your link.

LightSquared will function as “a disruptive force” in US wireless “by democratizing wireless broadband services,” the firm’s new Chair and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja proclaimed on Tuesday.

This has been my problem with Obama’s scheme to fund “rural broadband” since the beginning. We have companies already expanding broadband on their own dime, and doing it quickly and competitively. And the Regime wants to take their tax money and use it to compete against them via fascistic corporatism and damage or destroy one of the only healthy business sectors going right now. Just about all the conservative pundits and pols have missed this one.

forest on September 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Boss Emeritus is on top of it…
petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 1:04 PM

I am surprised it’s not on Drudge yet…

jimver on September 15, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Boss Emeritus is on top of it…
petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 1:04 PM

I am surprised it’s not on Drudge yet…

jimver on September 15, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Matt Drudge might be off to lunch :-)…

jimver on September 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Well done. Thanks.

petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 1:09 PM

This administration has so many fires going on that what they need is a web site to dispel all the lies, half truths, rumors, leaks, admissions of wrong doing, reports of thuggery, and investigations resulting in findings of corruption. Nah… that would seem too… paranoid.
-

RalphyBoy on September 15, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Pressuring a General to commit perjury?.. On an issue of National Security?

That was wrong?

Well, I gotta’ tell ya’, if anyone would have told me, when I was hired, that that sort of thing was frowned upon……….

franksalterego on September 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Errr, someone should tell the Obama administration that deflecting attention from the Fast and Furious scandal with Crony Capitalist scandals is not an ideal strategy.

Daemonocracy on September 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Heh. Really. OTOH, why tell them?

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM

He was not only pressured to change his report, but it was leaked to the company ahead of time. That’s what I find more damaging.

[strictnein on September 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM]

I agree the latter is.

I just don’t see the former, yet. I take it extending universal wireless is a policy of the government generally, ie, sanctioned by Congress, too. So the Adminstration’s job is make it work by managing the conflicts. To me, that means whatever problems there are between the objectives of the military and the project LightSquared is involved in.

The thing that set’s me as I need to know more is the WH suggested change that “the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days.” This problem could be chalked up to WH incompetence (too much golfing and not enough working on problems in governmental administration) and this suggestion doesn’t appear to show that Shelton would not be able to voice his his concerns to Congress but also that the WH is working on the problems now that they have to pay attention to their jobs.

Of course, it’s all just word on the WH’s part and tee times aren’t going to change but that’s another issue.

Dusty on September 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM

I’m sure he just mis-spoke. The Whitehouse will issue a correction on his behalf shortly.

BrideOfRove on September 15, 2011 at 1:13 PM

and why given the past Chicago Thugery would this even begin to surprise you? Everything this tool does is a charade, lie, theft or collusion to help a friend in the grandest Chicago manner….

SDarchitect on September 15, 2011 at 1:14 PM

WTF!? Are you kidding?

Book on September 15, 2011 at 1:15 PM

http://nlpc.org/stories/2011/03/25/obama-invested-company-got-sweet-deal-fcc

maryo on September 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Ewww, this is some deep doo-doo..

petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Keep in mind that in joint exercises last week with US and South Korean militaries, the norks jammed the GPS spectrum sufficiently to cause a US aircraft to make a forced landing and interfering substantially with navigation by both US and ROK units.

Aviation Week has been covering the debate for some months, and the science is pretty clear. The responses from the company have mainly pointed to how much money they have invested and will lose. FCC was fast tracking this and now has backed off.

GPS signals are quite week compared to the power output of towers planned by LightSquared. At best, you might get a funny reading trying to find something in your car. At worst, any relying on GPS information may be getting corrupted signals if they get any. This includes commercial aviation.

Irresponsible is just the first and kindest word that comes to mind. This is how far Obama and cadre will go for a donor? What would they do for themselves?

Harry Schell on September 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Next in the line of progression:

Smear the General.

These people are so predictable.

franksalterego on September 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

These little scandals are popping out like sausages.

iceman1960 on September 15, 2011 at 1:27 PM

To me, that means whatever problems there are between the objectives of the military and the project LightSquared is involved in.

I’m not sure you understand the scope of the problem here.

The military, in particular SPACECOM, is the canary in the coal mine here. SPACECOM and STRATCOM are already seeing problems with GPS and 4G LTE. We are already seeing problems in our bombers located at Barksdale when the B-52′s and B-2′s program their missions.

Our bases in S. Dakota don’t have this problem YET, because there’s no 4G interference.

We’ve already pulled down transmitters that cover Ft. Polk (U.S. largest infantry base) because the 4G transmitters are interfering with GPS units in vehicles and man-portable units as well.

The Obama admin and Lightsquared want to blanket the nation with Lightsquared’s 4G LTE and that will render almost every military GPS unusable for military work.

ADDITIONALLY, 4G LTE is already starting to cause problems with Commercial Aviation avionics, especially on instrument approaches due to inclement weather. This problem will only increase as signal strength increases around urban airports.

Finally, if they do get their national blanket in place, throw out your garmin’s and tom tom’s because they will be inaccurate.

They want everyone to be forced into AGPS which is a function of cell towers not GPS satellites. AGPS incurs data charges over the network and is a key component to making “rural broadband” work. Without forcing consumers to utilize AGPS, the cost model for rural broadband begins to fall apart.

All three are reasons to reject the administrations relationship with Lightsquared.

There was effort on the part of the White House to affect the General’s testimony. The WH already admits this through Carney.

This is a BFD to our military, commercial aviation and the consumer. The military is just the first to sound the alarm and the Obama administration is desperately trying to hit the snooze button.

Hence the “90 days” BS. They don’t have a new GPS system ready to be tested in 90 days. Giving existing systems a 50 ft margin of error as the “new normal” isn’t a solution, it’s a dodge.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

This general’s career is now over.

HondaV65 on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I would think at this point that the DNC would actually be excited about the prospect of impeachment. It would be perfect political cover to primary Obama and get a new horse in the race.

hungrymongo on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I would think at this point that the DNC would actually be excited about the prospect of impeachment. It would be perfect political cover to primary Obama and get a new horse in the race.

hungrymongo on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Except the Senate won’t support it.

HondaV65 on September 15, 2011 at 1:33 PM

That’s almost as ridiculous as wondering if Barry’s foreign policy isn’t aimed at isolating Israel inside an Islamist circle. For shame!

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Just curious, that was supposed to have a sarc tag, right?

Archimedes on September 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM

hungrymongo on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I was just about to suggest the exact same thing. Impeachment would definitely be a way of back door primary for O plus it gives everyone including the media a way of saying it wasn’t liberalism’s fault that nothing worked.

tims472 on September 15, 2011 at 1:36 PM

LightSquared is “pie-in-the-sky … the bet of his life”. All about Falcone, a la Vanity Fair:

Today, he manages only about $7 billion—roughly a quarter of the assets that he did at the peak. Last year, a popular financial blog named him one of the worst hedge-fund managers of 2010. And to many of his remaining investors’ great ire, roughly half of the money he has left is invested in a highly controversial, extremely risky private company—meaning he can’t easily sell, and investors can’t get their money back for the time being. The company, which Falcone has named LightSquared, is attempting to build a multi-billion-dollar satellite-based network to supply nationwide 4G wireless broadband service, in competition with AT&T and Verizon Wireless. “It is literally pie-in-the-sky stuff,” a former Harbinger investor says. “Cue the ‘Mission Impossible’ theme,” wrote a trade publication. Others have called it Falcone’s “riskiest trade ever” or “the bet of his life.”

Add in very public defections by employees, a lawsuit from a former partner, Howard Kagan, at Harbinger, and another bitter lawsuit, brought by Nacco, a small-appliance and industrial firm, which lost a takeover battle to Harbinger, and you can see why Falcone is losing his faith in Ganesh.

And that was all before federal authorities—the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department—started looking into a $113 million loan that Falcone took from his funds in the fall of 2009 to pay his taxes. His investors didn’t find out about it until the spring of 2010, and at that point they couldn’t get their money out of his funds. According to Reuters, there are also ongoing investigations by the S.E.C. into possible short selling and market manipulation abuses by Harbinger. “He [Falcone] has a reputation for being stubborn, volatile, and aggressive, and now the word on the Street is that, well, maybe you can’t trust him, either,” says one hedge-fund investor. “He lives by his own set of rules,” says another. “Dangerous, hockey player, high-life guy.” A fund manager sums him up this way: “A roll-the-dice, put-everything-on-red kind of guy.”

Falcone may be caught in what an observer says is a “death spiral” for a hedge-fund manager, because as soon as investors can get their money, they will take it and run. Goldman Sachs reportedly plans to pull its $120 million from Falcone’s fund. “These businesses, all they are is client trust. The money can vanish overnight,” says a former Falcone investor. “Once you ding a guy’s reputation, and there’s the perception that he broke that trust, it is virtually impossible to get it back.”

HT: MM

petefrt on September 15, 2011 at 1:36 PM

hungrymongo on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I was just about to suggest the exact same thing. Impeachment would definitely be a way of back door primary for O plus it gives everyone including the media a way of saying it wasn’t liberalism’s fault that nothing worked.

tims472 on September 15, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I don’t think it will be impeachment, I think the media will stop covering for him and we’ll start to see more “man, did Obama pull the wool over our eyes or what?” kind of editorials. He will decide not to run for reelection because without the media he doesn’t have a prayer.

We are already seeing the congressional Democrats turn on him. When the media starts in earnest, and lately even NPR has a degree of skepticism in some of their stories about the “job plan”, it’s just a matter of time before Democrats start looking for a lifesaver. My bet is we start seeing stories about the wonders of Evan Byah in the next couple of months.

piglet on September 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM

corruption? say it aint so! more please!

maineconservative on September 15, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Just curious, that was supposed to have a sarc tag, right?

Archimedes on September 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Probably.:)

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 2:02 PM

That’s almost as ridiculous as wondering if Barry’s foreign policy isn’t aimed at isolating Israel inside an Islamist circle. For shame!

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Sounds to me that…far from being ridiculous…this view is entirely consistent with and fully explains Barry’s continuing attack and shutdown of all American energy and his war on American jobs.

landlines on September 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

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;

I have a lot of faith and respect for our generals…but I really don’t care what a general’s opinion on broadband for commercial use is.

munseym on September 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

I have a lot of faith and respect for our generals…but I really don’t care what a general’s opinion on broadband for commercial use is.

Keep in mind that the changes were to soften his testimony that this network could potentially disable commercial and military GPS functionality. Basically they wanted him to say that “this plan would interfere with our GPS capability, but I fully support the plan.”

AverageJoe on September 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

First you turn to the dark side and now you’re just toying with us? Bishop, you are a bad man.

cynccook on September 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM

I think he was the evil mastermind in the gator kidnapping. Turned him in anyhow..
“Attaaaaaack waaaaatch!”
When only revenge satisfies.

katy the mean old lady on September 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

We have companies already expanding broadband on their own dime, and doing it quickly and competitively. And the Regime wants to take their tax money and use it to compete against them via fascistic corporatism and damage or destroy one of the only healthy business sectors going right now. Just about all the conservative pundits and pols have missed this one.

forest on September 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Not only this but if Obama makes his buddy and political soulmate the solitary owner of the entire universal wireless cloud this plan envisions then Obama is in control of the internet.

tommyboy on September 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Sounds to me that…far from being ridiculous…this view is entirely consistent with and fully explains Barry’s continuing attack and shutdown of all American energy and his war on American jobs.

landlines on September 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Hey, he promised to transform the country. He’s only doing what he promised. The majority voted for him. They wanted it. Plus, he’s a black guy and has a hot wife. Last, but not least, he’s cool and intellectual with a nice pants crease. He has a hands off management style. He puts good dedicated people in place and doesn’t interfere.

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Impeachment. Suborning perjury is a serious felony. I watch the paddy wagon to pull up to the White House and cart OCROOKA away.

andy85719 on September 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

The Dem. damage control plan will be short and simple:
1. Stonewall
2. Deny
3. Promise not to do it again

diogenes on September 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

This is broaching the Impeachment shoreline…

Khun Joe on September 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Actually, we have been camping out on the beaches of Impeachment for a while now waiting for the local natives to make an appearance.

RDE2010 on September 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I have a lot of faith and respect for our generals…but I really don’t care what a general’s opinion on broadband for commercial use is.

munseym on September 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

We should care about his opinion on interference with our GPS system though.

Aviator on September 15, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Plus, he’s a black guy and has a hot wife.

Moo wouldn’t be hot if she spontaneously burst into flames.

Aviator on September 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Even FCC Chair Julius Genachowski has given the news his public blessing.

“I was pleased to learn of the formation of LightSquared today,” Genachowski announced. Today’s announcement shows that FCC policies are helping grow the U.S. economy by catalyzing investment and job creation.”That last piece of credit-taking stems from the fact that the Commission approved this deal, although not everybody’s crazy about some of the conditions to which Harbinger agreed.

Condition one has Harbinger promising that SkyTerra will not enter into an agreement to make its 1525 to 1660.5 MHz band spectrum available to any entity that happens to be “the largest or second largest wireless provider” in the US, without receiving prior Commission approval.

Those unnamed providers would be AT&T and Verizon

From the link above: AverageJoe on September 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Vince on September 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM

This is broaching the Impeachment shoreline…

Khun Joe on September 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Actually, we have been camping out on the beaches of Impeachment for a while now waiting for the local natives to make an appearance.

RDE2010 on September 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Once various members of this administration start falling/throwing each other off the Cliffs of Insanity and imploding on the beach, we will know the end is near.

Lily on September 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

The Dem. damage control plan will be short and simple:
1. Stonewall
2. Deny
3. Promise not to do it again

diogenes on September 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

too late though…oh, and too little…

jimver on September 15, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Please understand I’m not questioning your assertions by any stretch of the imagination, but what are you basing this on?

If this is true – and I have no reason to disbelieve it – do you have a credible source we can reference in this matter?

Chip on September 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Hey, he promised to transform the country. He’s only doing what he promised. The majority voted for him. They wanted it. Plus, he’s a black guy and has a hot wife. Last, but not least, he’s cool and intellectual with a nice pants crease. He has a hands off management style. He puts good dedicated people in place and doesn’t interfere.

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

I only disagree with ‘he has a hot wife’ :-)…

jimver on September 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Once various members of this administration start falling/throwing each other off the Cliffs of Insanity and imploding on the beach, we will know the end is near.

Lily on September 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I’d contribute to a fund offering up gift certificates for seppuku daggers.

a capella on September 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM

OK, there’s a lot of talk about 4G LTE “interfering” with GPS.
Let’s take a look at this technical issue.

The problem is that LightSquared’s (L2) spectrum range for LTE overlaps with some GPS frequencies. By overlap, I mean that GPS has some small frequency bands in the middle of the range that L2 mostly owns.

Here’s a simplistic example. Suppose L2 has rights to the range of 40-45, then GPS has 46, then L2 has 47-50, and GPS has range 51-55. GPS devices from years past are not very intelligent, and the L2 range was inactive. So old GPS devices search for signal for the entire range of 46-55, in order to make sure to get the info on 46 and 51-55.

Until now, picking up traffic on 47-50 was not a problem for GPS, since it was unused. But now if L2 starts using it for 4G LTE, the usage on 47-50 might interfere with those old GPS devices that scan 46-55.

So whose problem is it? It can be solved by upgrading the GPS devices to be more intelligent. It could be solved by swapping spectrum to defrag it, but that would still require an update to old GPS devices for the new range. Or you can solve it by denying L2 the right to use the spectrum that they own for 4G.

There are deep pockets that want to kill L2′s venture into LTE with Sprint (hint – their logo looks very much like the Death Star). This is not to excuse the political impropriety going on here, and I’m not saying that the GPS interference isn’t a BFD.

Just trying to clarify L2′s valid capitalist interest.

connertown on September 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Irresponsible is just the first and kindest word that comes to mind. This is how far Obama and cadre will go for a donor? What would they do for themselves?

Harry Schell on September 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Not only this but if Obama makes his buddy and political soulmate the solitary owner of the entire universal wireless cloud this plan envisions then Obama is in control of the internet.

tommyboy on September 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Those two comments answer each other.

With a military GPS black out, I’m reminded of the movie SALT. At the end, when the male Russian agent is working to shoot nukes, so others shoot them back at us, he tells Salt, that America will die a horrible and painful death.

I’m not saying Obama is a Russian agent. What I am saying is…what the hell? This would leave us vulnerable, would it not? His job is to protect the people of this nation, and he’s more than shown his willingness to destroy us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Dem or not.

capejasmine on September 15, 2011 at 2:31 PM

We are already seeing the congressional Democrats turn on him. When the media starts in earnest, and lately even NPR has a degree of skepticism in some of their stories about the “job plan”, it’s just a matter of time before Democrats start looking for a lifesaver. My bet is we start seeing stories about the wonders of Evan Byah in the next couple of months.

piglet on September 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Not saying I disagree with you, but how do they get out of the Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson and Rev. Wright conundrum of getting rid of the first black president? The only way is for him to voluntarily withdraw.

txmomof6 on September 15, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Military experts like Gen. Shelton – what a plum assignment, Space Command! – must be bustin’ to go public with so much like this but through their own sense of duty and honor are sitting on it. Not that there’s anything remotely dishonorable in this; it sounds like the members had to pull teeth. These senior brass must look over at the caliber of their commander-in-chief, even for an elected civilian and say…”WTF!” They can’t be expected to hold it in forever.

But one thing you can say about Obama, credit where due, he may not have served in the military but he’s no graft-dodger.

curved space on September 15, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Please realize this about the Obama administration: It is completely corrupt; it is full of people who have done nothing constructive in their lives but have succeeded by being on the public dole, by lying, grifting, and cheating. That is who they are, so that is what our government is.

GaltBlvnAtty on September 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Chip on September 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I’ve tried responding twice here and both went to moderation, I think the filter might be confusing some acronym or doesn’t like a link.

For Ft. Polk, check out coverage maps for cellphones. Just a short while back, everyone could get coverage there. Recently they’ve had to push back almost all the towers. Leaving limited capabilities one the ones that are still there. You can go to army forums dot com and find lots of discussion about how cellphone towers and interference have had to be accounted for in training and the problems families on base have with switching carriers etc.

As for 4G and commercial aviation:

Bing Search for – 4G interference commercial aviation – The results from the first page should be enough to get you up to speed on that part.

I think we can say two things without fail -

1. The mismanagement of the spectrum here is the first BFD.
2. The crony politics are another BFD.
3. Crippling GPS systems is another BFD.
4. Putting L2′s system in a satellite based national blanket will compound all of these problems exponentially.

I recognize L2′s interest here, and I somewhat feel for them, but the fact remains. Implementation of their plan for 4G and rural broadband will cripple current GPS technology.

Replacing everything isn’t a realistic option, the cost would run into the trillions.

Own up to the mismanagement of the spectrum and swap some spectrum around so L2′s has equivalent spectrum and keep the GPS spectrum clear.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

“two” should have read “a few”

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Once various members of this administration start falling/throwing each other off the Cliffs of Insanity and imploding on the beach, we will know the end is near.

Lily on September 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I was sort of thinking about Lost and how Obama is like the smoke that covers the island and kills random people. Hopefully you are familiar.

RDE2010 on September 15, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Obozo thinks he’s Al Capone now. ChicagoLand politics brought to the Oval Office.

Will anyone pay attention to who is occupying the White House, and what his agenda is? We know the MSM won’t shine a light on it, so then who?

stacman on September 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM

[Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM]

&

[connertown on September 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM]

Thanks for those comments. Both help a lot in understanding the problems with this situation.

Dusty on September 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM

In a way, I can’t help but wish all these scandals (Solyandra, Lightsquared, etc.) could have kept until October 2012. I love the smell of October Surprise in the morning.

cynccook on September 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Oh, I have a feeling this is only scratching the surface of backroom deals going on behind that oval door. Obozo is starting to get a little careless with all his speeches saying he wants to go around Congress to get things done (at least until Pelosi is speaker again). This shows his willingness to do whatever it takes to move his agenda.

stacman on September 15, 2011 at 3:56 PM

This is broaching the Impeachment shoreline…

Khun Joe on September 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I was thinking the very same thing. I’ve been trying calculate if there would be enough evidence and/or enough time to impeach him before next November…

stacman on September 15, 2011 at 3:59 PM

“two” should have read “a few”

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Thank you for your comments. Your posts have been educational, informative,….. and scary.

itsspideyman on September 15, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Just trying to clarify L2′s valid capitalist interest.

connertown on September 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM

You and Jason have helped bring all this to focus.

itsspideyman on September 15, 2011 at 4:08 PM

We are already seeing the congressional Democrats turn on him. When the media starts in earnest, and lately even NPR has a degree of skepticism in some of their stories about the “job plan”, it’s just a matter of time before Democrats start looking for a lifesaver. My bet is we start seeing stories about the wonders of Evan Byah in the next couple of months.

piglet on September 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Not saying I disagree with you, but how do they get out of the Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson and Rev. Wright conundrum of getting rid of the first black president? The only way is for him to voluntarily withdraw.

txmomof6 on September 15, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Yes, exactly. Media stories are starting to emerge about how worried congressional Dems are about Obama dragging them down next year. This is DC – everyone is looking out for himself or herself. We will see more stories of the Administration in disarray and probably reports of internal squabbling. That’s already happening between Obama and congressional Dem leaders, color be d–ned.

The other day on NPR the host was pretty dubious with Timothy Geitner re: stimulus 2, and didn’t even bother with the usual technique of using Republicans as the foil for asking “tough” questions. He flat out said that Americans didn’t seem to be buying what the Administration was selling in terms of jobs created, and how did they explain how the unemployment was up at 9% despite the Administration’s claims that the first stimulus package would keep unemployment no higher than 8%. So why believe them this time? I had to pull over and laugh hard at the drubbing Geitner was getting from a Friendly. He was shocked. And scrambling.

What the media builds up, the media can tear down.

piglet on September 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

JDAM’s are GPS guiided, not just planes.

Akzed on September 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Sorry, I know this is OT, but I wish Hot Air would have a thread about the upcoming vote on Palestine (if there was such a thread previously, I missed it).

I would like to know if anyone thinks, as I do, that making Gaza and the West Bank into the nation of Palestine would require Israel to give up still more land in order to make a geographical link between those two areas. Such a corridor would cut Israel in two.

Again, I apologize for the OT, but I’m just not seeing anybody talk about this. People just seem to think, “Sure, make Gaza and the West Bank into Palestine, and everything will be fine.”

Hot Air, could we please have a thread about “Palestine”? If I’m the one person interested, I’ll zip my lip.

KyMouse on September 15, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Personally, I think it’s a bad idea. But more importantly, Obozo has to know that unless the US vetoes it in a UN vote, that will seal his fate and he’ll lose in 2012 by huge margins when all Jews really turn against him. I’m actually hoping he votes for it, but someone else vetoes it. I think Israel has shown great restraint because I’d be behind them nuking Palestine, taking the land, and starting over. Sometimes being nice is not all it’s cracked up to be…

stacman on September 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

This general’s career is now over.
HondaV65 on September 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

He could be Meagan Kelly’s co-host.

Akzed on September 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM

blink on September 15, 2011 at 4:08 PM

This wasn’t unused spectrum blink.

This was TV spectrum that coexisted fine with GPS.

They killed the TV signals and now want to put put L2′s satellites in space blanketing the U.S. in 4G.

If they do this, all existing GPS will become innaccurate. Trains will miss platforms, consumer electronics become bricks, airliners lose the ability to land in inclement weather, the military upgrade alone would bust the budgets of all the services.

This wasn’t a case of a building being built in an empty lot, it’s razing the house next to yours and dropping a Las Vegas Casino in it’s place.

Retrofitting every GPS device and reworking every GPS system in the nation is simply not an option, unless you know of some stash of a cool trillion laying around somewhere.

Are you ready to pay for all that so one company recoups a political donation?

They grossly mismanaged the spectrum at best, to what level our national security is affected determines what the other end is called.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Air Force 4-star Gen. William Shelton had his own integrity as well as the Air Force integrity and the National Security determining his position.

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. Air Force Gen. Shelton was originally scheduled to testify Aug. 3 to a House committee that the project would interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities, which control automated driving directions and missile targeting, among other things.

and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention

Obama had graft determining his position.

Note well that Obama would make it the PENTAGON’s responsibility to adjust in order to convenience LightSquared, despite it being LightSquared that’s in the way of National Security functioning properly.

And where is DHS protecting our national security in this matter? Rather, DHS is again in Obama CYA mode. As if DHS is looking out for America’s safety when crises create such magnificent opportunities for more abusive power and profits.

maverick muse on September 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Fake Scandal.

Del Dolemonte on September 15, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I don’t think that’s without merit. This Solyndra scandal is starting to blossom, so another scandal running in parallel could make them both go away…

stacman on September 15, 2011 at 4:31 PM

JDAM’s are GPS guiided, not just planes.

Akzed on September 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

No to mention, trains rely on GPS now, so do large ships, traffic management systems, cranes and container transporters, tectonic monitors, anything needing a timestamp, etc. etc. etc.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 4:32 PM

This thread being dedicated to our military engagements…

The Netherlands and Spain are financially benefiting through NATO/NTC to release Qaddafi’s frozen assets to the the politically savvy Mahmoud Jibril ready to take “ownership” of those financial assets himself (becoming the new strongman) rather than rendering them to the new Libyan NTC government’s rupturing factions.

“Rebel Rupture” Can Libya’s fledgling government get along, or will internal rivalries and tensions tear it apart?
By Sarah A. Topol, Foreign Policy

Qaddafi continues to elude his captors as the leaders of the National Transitional Council (NTC) continue to squabble in public. Most people are saying enough is enough. We cannot leave just a few to decide the future for the Libyan people.” A high-ranking member of the Tripoli Military Committee warned Tuesday to stay tuned for mass demonstrations later this week. Behind the scenes and off the record, officials close to the NTC describe the fissures that have opened up between top military commanders and political officials. Tensions between Western-backed liberals and homegrown Islamists are on the rise, bolstered by the international community’s fears that Islamist militant groups will hijack the revolution. “Our Misrata battalions, they don’t follow orders,” Mohamed El Fortia, a political advisor to the powerful and well-armed Misrata rebels, admits with pride. “Jalil can remove Jibril like that,” one of the officials told me, snapping his fingers.

maverick muse on September 15, 2011 at 4:32 PM

I am shocked, shocked I tell you!!

Hening on September 15, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Also, This was never “unused” spectrum. This was analog TV spectrum that was given over to 4G.

When it was TV, there was no problem with the GPS devices or satellites. While it’s still terrestrial, you can manage the interference through tower placement.

When you want to beam broadband from space over the GPS frequencies. . . you have a problem.

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 4:34 PM

The Dem. damage control plan will be short and simple:
1. Stonewall
2. Deny
3. Promise not to do it again

diogenes on September 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

/With the best intentions, Obama did it for the children.

Republicans will accept whatever line the DHS propagandizes so long as the reason will always be to err on the side against cancer./

maverick muse on September 15, 2011 at 4:37 PM

OK, there’s a lot of talk about 4G LTE “interfering” with GPS.
Let’s take a look at this technical issue.

The problem is that LightSquared’s (L2) spectrum range for LTE overlaps with some GPS frequencies. By overlap, I mean that GPS has some small frequency bands in the middle of the range that L2 mostly owns.

Here’s a simplistic example. Suppose L2 has rights to the range of 40-45, then GPS has 46, then L2 has 47-50, and GPS has range 51-55. GPS devices from years past are not very intelligent, and the L2 range was inactive. So old GPS devices search for signal for the entire range of 46-55, in order to make sure to get the info on 46 and 51-55.

Until now, picking up traffic on 47-50 was not a problem for GPS, since it was unused. But now if L2 starts using it for 4G LTE, the usage on 47-50 might interfere with those old GPS devices that scan 46-55.

So whose problem is it? It can be solved by upgrading the GPS devices to be more intelligent. It could be solved by swapping spectrum to defrag it, but that would still require an update to old GPS devices for the new range. Or you can solve it by denying L2 the right to use the spectrum that they own for 4G.

There are deep pockets that want to kill L2′s venture into LTE with Sprint (hint – their logo looks very much like the Death Star). This is not to excuse the political impropriety going on here, and I’m not saying that the GPS interference isn’t a BFD.

Just trying to clarify L2′s valid capitalist interest.

connertown on September 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Good statement. It’s important to separate the free market intent from the criminal cronyism here, regardless of Falcone’s reputation.

HomeoftheBrave on September 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Hening on September 15, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Alcohol was involved.

maverick muse on September 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

It’s important to separate the free market intent from the criminal cronyism here,

Precisely.

maverick muse on September 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM

connertown on September 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Jason Coleman on September 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Thanks for the info you two.

So it would seem like one if the issues is that the FCC shouldn’t have kept enough of a spread from the GPS frequencies but didn’t and now we all (anyone who relies on GPS or ancillary systems thereof) will suffer.

Chip on September 15, 2011 at 4:46 PM

The General told the truth, in keeping with his oaths.

The real hero here is whoever thought to ask the question which elicited his admissions.

Our watchdog committees need to take a page from Art Linkletter’s old “Kids Say The Darnedest Things” routine, where he would just interview small children on television. One of his sure-fired ways to get a kid to open up with funny stuff was by asking, “Was there anything they told you NOT to talk about today?”

Adjoran on September 15, 2011 at 4:48 PM

What the media builds up, the media can tear down.

piglet on September 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

They never did so with the Democrat “candidates” for President in 2000 and 2004.

Del Dolemonte on September 15, 2011 at 4:51 PM

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