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Segment 4: Joseph Nacchio vs. NSA
Nacchio vs. NSA
Glenn begins segment 4 highlighting just one moment in the governments lengthy line of dishonesty when it comes to the size and scope of domestic surveillance in the United States. James Clapper was asked point blank if they are collecting data and he flatly said no. A few weeks later, Edward Snowden became a household name.
Like Snowden’s actions or not, he revealed the power government wields over the digital world:
“You could watch entire villages and see what everyone was doing. I watched NSA tracking people’s Internet activities as they typed. I became aware of just how invasive US surveillance capabilities had become. I realized the true breadth of this system. And almost nobody knew it was happening.”
As Glenn’s guest from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explained, the NSA approaches companies and asks for a ‘golden key’ – a backdoor into the system. This enables them to collect massive reams of data and use it almost any way it pleases. Why would companies agree to this? Why play ball? What happened to Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest communications, may explain it.
When the NSA came asking for backdoor access, he refused. Not long after that, he was suddenly facing insider trading charges. He claims the charges are retribution for not playing along with the NSA. He is not allowed to name who he worked with because it is classified. Also classified is the information he says will exonerate him – he has challenged the government to do so but they still have not done that, over a decade later.