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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski speaks to the media on the importance of net neutrality December 1, 2010 at the headquarters of the FCC in Washington, DC. Genachowski outlined a framework for broadband internet service providers that would prohibit them from blocking or limiting lawful online content. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski speaks to the media on the importance of net neutrality December 1, 2010 at the headquarters of the FCC in Washington, DC. Genachowski outlined a framework for broadband internet service providers that would prohibit them from blocking or limiting lawful online content. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)   

Documents show Obama’s FCC used regulatory muscle to destroy LightSquared’s competition

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Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Documents show that on Sept. 13, three days after Adelstein sent his email, Obama’s technology adviser Phil Weiser hosted another White House meeting. Attendees included Adelstein, de Sa and several other high-ranking officials in the FCC and USDA.

Later that day, after the meeting, Adelstein emailed de Sa in what appears to be an indication of what transpired.

“Thanks for taking so much time for the helpful meeting today,” Adelstein wrote. “Would you mind letting the Harbinger folks know I will call them soon so we look like a coordinated effort so they don’t feel they have unlimited leverage to stick it to Open Range?”

“Happy to hook you up,” de Sa replied, “although one thought is that at the moment the ball is in openrange [sic] court (in that they have the term sheet), so I wonder if rather than spending your intervention bullet now when [there are] no issues with negotiation, whether it would be better to wait until if/when a problem arises after the fcc order comes out?”

de Sa added, regarding Adelstein’s concern that the parties involved “don’t want to give harbinger any ideas about sticking it to openrange,” that it was “totally your call tho, just let me know what u prefer.”

GlobalStar’s final request for an extension on its rule waiver was denied on Sept. 14, the very next day.

The emails obtained by The Daily Caller may indicate that the White House officials who met with Adelstein on Sept. 13, 2010 already knew GlobalStar would be rendered unable to operate just one day later.

Another possible interpretation is that the FCC, or some other agency in the Obama administration, had already informed LightSquared executives that their main competitor would be denied its waiver extension.

It is also possible, however unlikely, that Adelstein’s concern about LightSquared executives having “unlimited leverage to stick it to Open Range” indicated that the FCC and the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service were planning to keep Open Range in business without GlobalStar by making it dependent on LightSquared’s broadband spectrum instead. If LightSquared executives were already aware that GlobalStar would soon lose its regulatory permission to operate, they were also aware that their company would soon enjoy a practical monopoly.

The FCC officially denied GlobalStar’s waiver extension request on Sept. 14, 2010, a move that crippled the company and cleared the way for the politically-connected LightSquared to build its own network without competition from its biggest rival.

FCC spokeswoman Tammy Sun didn’t answer when TheDC asked her specifically about who knew what, and when, about the Obama administration’s refusal to give GlobalStar its final requested rule extension — a decision that essentially doomed Open Range.

Sun also didn’t reply when TheDC asked her if anyone in the federal government had informed LightSquared that GlobalStar would soon no longer be permitted to operate.

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