Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just when I think my estimation of them couldn't get any lower

Um... shit:
The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.

The documents indicate that likely would have been at the heart of former CEO Joe Nacchio's so-called "classified information" defense at his insider trading trial, had he been allowed to present it.


Prosecutors have said they were prepared to poke holes in Nacchio's classified defense.

Nacchio was convicted last spring on 19 counts of insider trading for $52 million of stock sales in April and May 2001, and sentenced to six years in prison. He's free pending appeal.

The partially redacted documents were filed under seal before, during and after Nacchio's trial. They were released Wednesday.

Nacchio planned to demonstrate at trial that he had a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., to discuss a $100 million project. According to the documents, another topic also was discussed at that meeting, one with which Nacchio refused to comply.

The topic itself is redacted each time it appears in the hundreds of pages of documents, but there is mention of Nacchio believing the request was both inappropriate and illegal, and repeatedly refusing to go along with it.

The NSA contract was awarded in July 2001 to companies other than Qwest.

USA Today reported in May 2006 that Qwest, unlike AT&T and Verizon, balked at helping the NSA track phone calling patterns that may have indicated terrorist organizational activities. Nacchio's attorney, Herbert Stern, confirmed that Nacchio refused to turn over customer telephone records because he didn't think the NSA program had legal standing.

So... was the NSA gearing up to spy on people months before 9/11?

Via Atrios.

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