Feeds

'The NSA set me up,' ex-con Qwest exec claims

Former CEO says refusal to help spies cost him his freedom

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio, having recently completed a prison sentence for insider trading, maintains that he never committed any crime and that the sole reason for his conviction can be summed up in three letters: NSA.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nacchio said former security contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about far-reaching domestic spying programs conducted by the US National Security Agency backed up his claim of innocence, which has never wavered since his 2007 trial.

"I feel vindicated," Nacchio told the paper. "I never broke the law, and I never will."

During his trial, prosecutors argued that Nacchio sold $52m of Qwest stock because he knew the telco's fortunes were tanking. He says that's not true – that when he sold the shares he thought Qwest's outlook was good.

What he did do, he says, is turn down the NSA's 2001 request that he give the spy agency access to Qwest customers' phone records. Qwest was the only US telco to do so at the time, he claims, and his prosecution for securities fraud was a government reprisal.

Nacchio says he had planned to submit records of Qwest's dealings with the NSA as part of his defense, but that some of the materials he wanted to include were deemed classified and he was barred from presenting them as evidence.

As a result of his conviction, Nacchio paid a $19m fine, forfeited another $44.6m, and was handed a six-year prison sentence, which he served in minimum-security facilities in Pennsylvania. He was released on September 20 after serving 54 months.

Having entered prison looking every bit the plump-faced, well-heeled corporate exec, the 64-year-old Nacchio's body has been hardened by weightlifting and he now sports a shaved head and goatee reminiscent of Breaking Bad's Walter White.

Six years after his conviction, he's still in and out of the courts. He has sued his criminal defense lawyers for overbilling and malpractice (the latter claim since having been dismissed), and he's reportedly seeking an $18m refund from the Internal Revenue Service, based on his claim that the funds he was made to forfeit should have been tax deductible.

He's also looking for a book deal. He has two in mind: the first about Americans' loss of liberty from the actions of the NSA and other government agencies, and the second a memoir of his own experiences in federal prison. Nacchio describes his incarceration as being like "Lord of the Flies, for grown-ups," and among his more colorful claims are that his best friends inside were drug offenders who went by "Juice" and "Spoonie," and that his bunkmate was called "Spider."

"I trust Spoonie and Juice with my back," Nacchio told the WSJ. "I wouldn't trust the guys who worked for me at Qwest." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.