Here’s a really interesting story that many people may not be familiar with. By now, we all know that every single major telecom CEO bent over submissively the minute the NSA came calling for data. Except one. A forgotten man in the entire NSA spy scandal is Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest, who actually refused to participate in the NSA’s illegal activities when they first propositioned him in 2001. Several years later, he was convicted of insider trading.
Perhaps I’m just a conspiracy theorist, but I find it quite coincidental that a country which lets Jon Corzine off the hook, a country where not a single CEO or executive of a financial institution was indicted with regard to the 2008 crisis, a country where James Clapper lies to Congress about the NSA and face zero repercussions; that in such a country the only major corporate CEO to go to jail for financial crimes is the one that refused to play ball with the NSA.
Well it seems the man himself shares such sentiments, and he continues to express them. Mr Nacchio was released from his four and a half year sentence on September 20th. More from the Washington Post:
Just one major telecommunications company refused to participate in a legally dubious NSA surveillance program in 2001. A few years later, its CEO was indicted by federal prosecutors. He was convicted, served four and a half years of his sentence and was released this month.
Prosecutors claim Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio was guilty of insider trading, and that his prosecution had nothing to do with his refusal to allow spying on his customers without the permission of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But to this day, Nacchio insists that his prosecution was retaliation for refusing to break the law on the NSA’s behalf.
His narrative matches with the warrantless surveillance program reported by USA Today in 2006 which noted Qwest as the lone holdout from the program, hounded by the agency with hints that their refusal “might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government.” But Nacchio was prevented from bringing up any of this defense during his jury trial — the evidence needed to support it was deemed classified and the judge in his case refused his requests to use it. And he still believes his prosecution was retaliatory for refusing the NSA requests for bulk access to customers’ phone records. Some other observers share that opinion, and it seems consistent with evidence that has been made public, including some of the redacted court filings unsealed after his conviction.
The NSA declined to comment on Nacchio, referring inquiries to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.
“No comment.” That’s how we roll. USA! USA!
Full article here.
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