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Special Reports Last Updated: Mar 2nd, 2010 - 00:31:24

NSA threatened Qwest CEO with repercussions if he didn�t cut a surveillance deal
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 2, 2010, 00:22

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(WMR) -- WMR has learned from sources who worked in senior positions for the telecommunications company Qwest that its former chairman and CEO, Joseph Nacchio, was threatened with retaliation after he refused to participate in an unconstitutional and illegal National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping program after he met with NSA officials on February 27, 2001, some six months before the 9/11 attacks. Nacchio refused to turn over customer records without a court order -- something NSA did not possess at the time it made its request.

After Nacchio refused NSA�s request on the grounds that it was illegal, sources close to Nacchio reported his legal problems with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission began in earnest. First, Qwest lost out on several lucrative federal government contracts and second, Nacchio was indicted and convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider stock trading. Nacchio was sentenced to six years in the Schuykill federal prison camp in Minersville, Pennsylvania, where he is now assigned prisoner number 33973-013.

In January, US District Judge Marcia Krieger of the 10th Circuit Court in Denver denied Nacchio�s motion for a new trial. Krieger was nominated for the federal bench by President George W. Bush on September 10, 2001. The September 10 date is significant -- it was then clear that Nacchio was not going to be a player in the NSA and FBI illegal surveillance programs and it was the day before the Bush administration would sweep aside the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Qwest is headquartered in Denver.

The illegal NSA surveillance program, once known by its highly-classified code-name STELLAR WIND, was revealed by AT&T employee Mark Klein, who divulged NSA�s �secret room� on the 6th floor at AT&T�s central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco. The �secret room� was next door to the 4ESS phone switch. According to AT&T documents, NSA had direct wiretaps on key Internet circuits on the floor above. NSA�s operation conducted vacuum-cleaner copying of the data stream of the Internet, which included e-mail, web browsing, VOIP phone calls (e.g., Skype) and all the other common Internet services. There is informed speculation that because of an aggressive AT&T internal campaign to transfer all its old long-distance traffic to fiber lines, traditional phone calls that passed through the 4ESS switch were likely transferred to the Internet circuits, making phone calls also very likely subject to NSA eavesdropping.

AT&T and Verizon agreed to participate in the STELLAR WIND program.

Even though there is ample evidence that the federal government engaged in massive prosecutorial misconduct in retaliation for Nacchio�s refusal to participate in STELLAR WIND and associated FBI surveillance programs, the Supreme Court refused to review the case against the former Qwest chief. The Supreme Court also denied Nacchio bail pending his appeal, a clear attempt by the most corrupt Supreme Court in American history to prevent Nacchio from airing the NSA�s dirty laundry about domestic wiretapping and pressure on telecommunication firms� senior corporate officials.

Qwest shareholders and retirees blamed Nacchio for their financial losses, however, it is now clear that the NSA and the Bush administration targeted Qwest for retribution after its top boss refused to cooperate in the illegal domestic wiretap programs of the NSA and FBI.

Qwest founder, railroad and oil magnate Philip Anschutz, a conservative Christian who owns The Examiner chain of metro region newspapers and several entertainment firms and professional sports teams, testified on Nacchio�s behalf.

The news of NSA�s threats of retaliation against Nacchio will come as little comfort to those NSA employees, including the jailed ex-NSA analyst Ken Ford, Jr., on similar trumped up charges. If someone as wealthy and powerful as Nacchio could be brought down by the illegal domestic joint targeting operations carried out by the NSA, FBI, and corrupt Justice Department prosecutors, those rank-and-file NSA employees who have blown the whistle on NSA�s illegal operations stand little chance of having their �day in court.�

WMR has been told by NSA insiders that if the full extent of NSA�s illegal operations became public, the American people would go into a �state of shock.�

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright � 2010

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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