Statement by Attorney of Former Qwest CEO on NSA Domestic Telephone Database
May 12, 2006
Statement of Herbert J. Stern, attorney for former Qwest Communications CEO Joseph N. Nacchio
In light of pending litigation, I have been reluctant to issue any public statements. However, because of apparent confusion concerning Joe Nacchio and his role in refusing to make private telephone records of Qwest customers available to the NSA immediately following the Patriot Act, and in order to negate misguided attempts to relate Mr. Nacchio's conduct to present litigation, the following are the facts.
In the Fall of 2001, at a time when there was no investigation of Qwest or Mr. Nacchio by the Department of Justice or the Securities Exchange Commission, and while Mr. Nacchio was Chairman and CEO of Qwest and was serving pursuant to the President's appointment as the Chairman of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, Qwest was approached to permit the Government access to the private telephone records of Qwest customers.
Mr. Nacchio made inquiry as to whether a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request. When he learned that no such authority had been granted and that there was a disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process, including the Special Court which had been established to handle such matters, Mr. Nacchio concluded that these requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommications Act. Accordingly, Mr. Nacchio issued instructions to refuse to comply with these requests. These requests continued throughout Mr. Nacchio's tenure and until his departure in June of 2002.