Officials of the National Security Agency requested warrantless wiretapping from the chairman of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council (NSTAC) at a meeting at NSA headquarters on February 27, 2001, seven months before the 9/11 attack.
This stunning revelation was made by the former NSTAC chairman, Joseph Nacchio, who cited court documents from the government’s retaliatory 2005 case against him for insider trading. Nacchio made his remarks at a Newsmaker press conference at the National Press Club on July 29.
In response to NSA’s request, Nacchio asked the agency representatives if they had a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant. The reply was no. Nacchio then asked them if they had presidential executive authority. The answer was again no. Although Nacchio also served as chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications, his refusal to provide NSA with warrantless wiretapping of Qwest lines was made more significant in his role as NSTAC chairman. Other NSTAC members quickly followed suit in rejecting NSA’s request. They included AT&T, SBC Communications, Sprint, Bell South, Verizon, WorldCom, and others.
The Bush administration retaliated against Nacchio by indicting him for insider trading in 2005, five days before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Rather than try Nacchio in the Southern District of New York, where the alleged trades were made, or the Northern District of New Jersey, where Nacchio resided, the Department of Justice went judge shopping and decided to indict in Denver, the location of Qwest’s corporate headquarters. George Nottingham, the judge chosen was in a blackmailable position.
After trying Nacchio, Nottingham resigned after he was accused of obstruction of justice involving prostitutes and strippers. It was clear that NSA, which operates a large signals intelligence processing center in Aurora, near Denver, was aware that Nottingham had personal problems that could be exploited by Justice Department prosecutors. And that is exactly what happened when Nottingham disallowed Nacchio’s defense team’s evidence of NSA’s attempt to get Nacchio to break the law in 2001 by permitting unlawful intercepts. The NSA wanted to make Nacchio an example for all the other telecommunications CEOs. As a result, the Bush administration discovered that its warrantless program code named STELLAR WIND had the full support of the CEOs who fell in line after 9/11.
An unnamed U.S. intelligence agency also requested Nacchio to have Qwest’s European subsidiary hire certain employees for unspecified purposes. As a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations, it is now known that NSA’s and its British counterpart’s Operation SOCIALIST, implanted engineers into Belgacom’s switches in Brussels to conduct illegal wiretapping.
Bacchio served six years at the federal penitentiary in Schuykill, Pennsylvania. He was released in 2013. Nacchio maintains his innocence and says that he was selected for prosecution by a Justice Department willing to retaliate for his refusal to follow NSA’s orders.
Nacchio also cited court records showing that he was lured to NSA in February 2001 to supposedly meet with General Michael Hayden, NSA’s director. Hayden never showed for the meeting as it was a ruse to get Nacchio into one of NSA’s top secret rooms called a SCIF.The meeting started out with a conversations about GROUNDBREAKER, a new signals intelligence infrastructure, which, along with TRAILBLAZER, were major pet projects of Hayden. Both systems also disregarded the U,S, Constitution and NSA’s own regulations against eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. NSA insiders charged Hayden with his own “insider trading” by awarding lucrative contracts to his favorite firm, SAIC, in return for a cushy job after his retirement from the Air Force. Hayden is now a business partner of Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security Secretary.
Nacchio criticized the government’s prosecutori regime. He said that 98 percent of all federal indictments are plea bargained out.Of the two percent that go to trial, the governmrent has a 95 percent win rate, which is greater than those of the USSR and Nazi Germany.
Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist who consistently exposes cover-ups from deep within the government. Want to be the first to learn the latest scandal? Go to WayneMadsenReport.com subscribe today!