Qwest's Joseph Nacchio: Hero or "Clever" Villain?

If I'm to believe The New York Times, former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio is a hero for not allowing the National Security Agency to have records of phone calls:

Mr. Nacchio learned that no warrant had been granted and that there was a "disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process," said the lawyer, Herbert J. Stern. As a result, the statement said, Mr. Nacchio concluded that "the requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act."

..... Qwest was the only phone company to turn down requests from the security agency for phone records as part of a program to compile a vast database of numbers and other information on virtually all domestic calls. The program's scope was first described in an article published on Thursday by USA Today that led to an outpouring of demands for information from Congressional Republicans and Democrats. The article said that AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon had agreed to provide the information to the security agency.

Incredibly, the article makes no mention of a "little" problem Mr. Nacchio is facing these days:

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio has been indicted on 42 counts of insider trading. Prosecutors say Nacchio knew at the time what the public did not: that Qwest was using accounting gimmicks to artificially prop up its finances. If convicted, Nacchio could face 10 years in prison for each count of insider trading.

Though it's not a good idea to predict outcomes, this link indicates that a number of Nacchio's underlings have pleaded out in return for cooperation (the article is about the conviction of Marc Weisberg, but also indicates that "only one unresolved criminal case" remains, i.e., Nacchio's). That ordinarily does not bode well for the guy at the top.

Nacchio's indictment is relevant, not just because it could go to his character, but it could very well go to the real reason behind Qwest's refusal to cooperate with the NSA. After all, if Nacchio really was engaged in insider trading, isn't it at least possible that he refused to hand over Qwest's phone records because, by doing so, he would be handing future insider-trading investigators the road map to an expeditious prosecution?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

War on Terrorism New York Times