Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Government said to have dreamed up charges against CEO who refused to spy for NSA

There is a curious case where a corporate CEO was indicted, convicted, and jailed for four years, all starting around 2006, apparently as retribution for refusing to spy for the NSA back in 2001, curiously right after George W. Bush took office and months before the 9/11 attacks.
The CEO was Joe Nacchio of Qwest, who was convicted of insider trading, in a charge that he maintains was contrived.   His firm apparently lost the ability to get classified work after his refusal.
Andrea Peterson has a story in the Washington Post this morning, here
The story points out that as early as 2006, USA Today had reported on NSA “warrantless surveillance” of US phone calls, story here
What seems scary is that the government would recruit a private citizen to do spying, and penalize it for not doing so.  This seems to be a greater risk if the person has done something legally questionable but perhaps in an ethical gray area.  

I would wonder if the same thing could conceivably happen to a blogger or journalist.   My own attitude is that if I witness something or learn of something online of an unusual nature, I normally will talk to authorities, on the theory that criminal or alien threats to security (including my own) could be truly dangerous.   But I can’t be “recruited” for anything.  

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