Friday, September 23, 2011

US Air Force General Claims He Was Pressured to Alter Testimony About White House Backed Sattelite Communications Network

The Commander of the United States Air Force Space Command told House members that he was pressured to change prepared testimony before Congress to benefit a communications company that had a major Democrat donor as one of its main investors.
Republicans have raised questions about whether the project pursued by the company, LightSquared, is being unduly expedited by the Obama administration, which has pushed for national wireless network upgrades.

The Virginia-based satellite and broadband communications company has plans to build a nationwide, next-generation, 4G phone network that many, including Shelton, think would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems, a product used most commonly by the United States military.

General William Shelton testified before Congress last week that interference with the military's GPS satellite system due to activity from LightSquared's proposed satelite-based 4G and wireless communications network could not be mitigated.
He did testify that testing done by various agencies responsible for military GPS positioning "demonstrated empirically that the LightSquared signals interfere with all of the types of receivers in the test."

He added that mitigation would not be possible because redesigning the equipment to filter out interference from LightSquared "would involve substantial financial cost and likely degrade the accuracy of high performance receivers, which is critical to many key GPS users."

Military training that relies on precision GPS, such as dropping ordnance, potentially could cease to exist in the United States. Many farmers who also rely on the systems would also be affected. It's estimated this system is used by as many as 1 million people.

The Federal Aviation Administration has also expressed worry about the LightSquared project. The FAA is in the process of moving from a radar based positioning system to a required GPS system for all aircraft, and it has “serious concerns” about how LightSquared may interfere with that, according to FAA spokesman Laura Brown.
Since the General's testemony, another witness has come forward to claim that he was pressured to modify his testimony to rflect more favorable on LightSquared.

General Shelton's allegations come less than a month after heavily subsidised solar panel manufacturer Solyndra shut down, leaving taxpayers on the hook for $500 million in loan guarantees.

The Obama Administration reportedly pressured regulators from the Department of Energy to expedite loans to Solyndra, sat in on company meetings and touted the solar company's activities as an indication that the 2009 Stimulus was working as intended, with President Obama visiting the company's Fremont, CA facilities in May 2010.

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