Report: White House pressured general to support LightSquared in testimony

The White House pressured an Air Force general to change his congressional testimony in order to make it more supportive of a wireless startup, according to a report. 

The Daily Beast reported that Gen. William Shelton was asked to alter his planned remarks to lawmakers and their staff in a secured briefing about LightSquared.

One of the major investors in LightSquared is prominent Democratic donor Philip Falcone.

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LightSquared plans to provide high-speed wireless service nationwide through a network of satellites and land-based cell towers, but tests earlier this year revealed it interferes with GPS devices, including those used by the military.

Shelton is scheduled to offer his testimony at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday morning, where questions about White House involvement are certain to come up.

News of possible pressure to support a troubled tech company comes as the FBI and lawmakers investigate bankrupt solar firm Solyndra.

According to the report, Shelton was pressured to change his testimony to show he supported the White House's policy to expand wireless broadband access and the Pentagon would try to resolve the GPS interference issues with more testing within 90 days. 

Shelton chafed at the intervention because it made it seem as if the Pentagon was trying to help the company launch its network, according to the report.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) typically reviews all testimony by administration officials to ensure it is consistent with White House policy. OMB officials told The Daily Beast no changes to Shelton's testimony were made for political reasons and the general would be permitted to give the testimony he wanted.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski also was scheduled to testify at Thursday's hearing, according to the committee's website, but FCC spokeswoman Tammy Sun said Julie Knapp, chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, would testify instead.

"We received an invitation from the subcommittee for the chairman or his designee to testify," Sun said. Because the hearing may focus on technical interference issues, they decided Knapp would be better able to answer the lawmakers' questions, she said.