Free Joe Nacchio!

Why exactly is the former head honcho at Qwest, Joseph Nacchio, going on trial Monday?

No, I'm not being dense here.  I'm fully aware he's charged with insider trading.  And while I could take this opportunity to rant about how insider trading is a victimless crime, others have trod that path before, including the late Harry Browne.  (That said, I'll the give prosecutors in Denver their due; they actually charged Nacchio with insider trading, as opposed to some bogus, trumped-up charge of lying to investigators, as happened to Martha Stewart.)

But could there be ulterior motives here?  

Let's not forget that of the four existing Baby Bells at the time, only Qwest under Nacchio refused to play ball with the good ol' National Security Agency.  AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth (now under the AT&T umbrella) all handed over their customer records without a warrant, but Nacchio refused, and so did his successor Dick Notebaert.

Granted, Nacchio might not have been acting out of high principle.  He could have simply acted on the advice of lawyers who believed that handing over the records would violate the privacy provisions in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

But in this day and age, heroes are where you find them.  Free Joe Nacchio!

The Daily Reckoning