Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ahhh, the smell of the Clinton Administration in the AM

I sent this out on twitter earlier today - now time to blog it.

Remember one of the low points of the Clinton Administration when it came to the long term national security and keeping our military edge?
Two American aerospace companies damaged U.S. national security when they provided Chinese space engineers with technical rocketry data that could have assisted Beijing's ballistic missile program, a House committee concluded yesterday in a classified 700-page report.

The panel's report is the most comprehensive review so far of evidence that Hughes Electronics Corp. and Loral Space & Communications Ltd. shared sensitive U.S. technologies as they pursued commercial relations in China. The committee's findings appeared to include detailed criticism of the Clinton administration's policy of loosening high-tech export restrictions as a way to promote trade.

In a rare show of bipartisanship on what for months has been a divisive issue, the special panel chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) voted 9-0 yesterday to endorse the secret five-volume study and send it to congressional leaders and the Clinton administration.
That was all about helping out political cash machines.

Funny - selling out national defense in order to get re-election money. Do we spot a trend?
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.

“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.
BTW - if you need to brush up on your history on the subject - read Bill Gertz's Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.


Grandpa Bluewater said...

True, alas. Instructive for the young'ins.  'Taint hardly news.  Not hardly.

steeljawscribe said...

What's in play here is that LightSqaured's proposed network is incompatible with GPS - with major ramifications across the aviation community.

w/r, SJS

Grumpy Old Ham said...

LightSquared just doesn't seem to get the hint that they are a threat across the board:

C'mon guys, pick another frequency range...there's plenty out there that'll be up for auction soon.

DeltaBravo said...

The Daily Beast broke that story?

If it were a Republican administration, the NYT would have leaked it all over the front page.

So much for the most ethical transparent administration the world was ever going to know.

Mike M. said...

"Major ramifications" is an understatement.  It's got <span>everybody</span> who uses GPS up in arms.

Benjamin Walthrop said...

But since it was originally "zoned" for satellite use, I suspect the purchase price was a lot more attractive than terrestrially "zoned" frequencies...

This sounds like a business decision that plays out like this:

1.  Purchase frequency band at low price.
2.  FCC changes the "zoning."
3.  GPS impacts noted in the press.
4.  FCC admits "mistake."
5.  Federal government assigns terrestrial frequency band.

Result:  Terrestrial frequency band at fire sale prices.

Maybe not, but it would be incredible if this were just a technical oversight.

The Usual Suspect said...

No surprise for play the Chicago Way.  Went to school with a former Loral guy who resigned over the Clinton episode.  He lined up against them and they tried to destroy him.  Ugly all the way around.  Not to insults ladies of the evening, but politicians are whores.

steeljawscribe said...

Hmm, at least with the ladies of the evening everyone's intentions and motivations are, uh, up front for all to see.