Bob Beauprez

It must feel like SSDD at the White House – same stuff, different day.  While the stink from the Solyndra political corruption scandal continues to grow, a new one involving a 4-star Air Force General and military intelligence erupted yesterday from Capitol Hill.

According to reports published by The Daily Beast, General William Shelton, Commander of the Air Force Space Command Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, 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 company is LightSquared, a Virginia wireless broadband provider seeking approval for a coast-to-coast wireless network.  The majority owner of LightSquared is Harbinger Capital Partners an investment fund whose CEO, Philip Falcone, is a large Democrat Party donor.

The bandwidth spectrum proposed to be used by LightSquared would be very close to the global GPS system used by private industry as well as the U.S. military and intelligence communities.  Although LightSquared maintains their proposal would be "quiet neighborhood" network, the Pentagon and industry experts have voiced serious concerns that the "tens of thousands of ground stations for a wireless network could drown out the GPS signal."  

Prior to appearing before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, the White House reviewed and recommended changes to General Shelton's testimony that would have been favorable to LightSquared.  "There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his (Gen. Shelton's) testimony." Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the Committee Chairman told The Daily Beast.  "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 of Management and Budget." 

According to the report, the White House pressed Gen. Shelton to alter his testimony on two critical points: first, that the General supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use (a campaign pledge by Obama), and secondly that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days.   Instead of caving to the White House pressure, General Shelton "chafed at the intervention" and blew the whistle.

Consistent with what has become standard-operating-procedure, the White House issued a statement denying any wrong doing or pressure on the General. 


Bob Beauprez

Bob Beauprez is a former Member of Congress and is currently the editor-in-chief of A Line of Sight, an online policy resource. Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Beauprez was a dairy farmer and community banker. He and his wife Claudia reside in Lafayette, Colorado. You may contact him at: http://bobbeauprez.com/contact/
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