washington -- A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew a $200-million contract after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company's top lawyer said was illegal.
Former Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.
Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records.
In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest's refusal to take part in that program led the government to retaliate by canceling a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA. He is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.