Joe Nacchio, the former CEO of the defunct telecom Qwest, made the allegations along with his lawyers in a federal court in Denver in 2007. NSA officials asked Qwest to participate in a warrantless wiretapping program that the telecom’s lawyers believed was illegal in February 2001, six months before Sept. 11, court transcripts reveal. The court transcripts were the basis of a Denver Post article published on Oct. 21, 2007.
The transcripts were of Nacchio’s trial for insider trading, which ended up revealing a lot more. At the trial, Nacchio maintained that the federal government punished his company for not participating in the surveillance program by not rewarding it secret federal contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And we now know, as we have reported previously, that federal agencies are now amassing databases that rival even the NSA’s.
Qwest later went bankrupt, and Nacchio was convicted of insider trading for his dealings in its stock and sentenced to four years in federal prison. Nacchio was released from prison earlier this year and is currently in house arrest.
The transcripts indicate that Qwest worked closely with the NSA and was pressured to participate in a program called Pioneer Groundbreaker, which was designed to create a data center that would allow the NSA to tap into phone calls, fax machines, and internet activities. All before September 11th, 2001.