National Press Club

Will NSA Surveillance Reform Protect Public?

Will NSA Surveillance Reform Protect Public?

July 29, 2015 10:00 AM

Location: Zenger Room

Will NSA Surveillance Reform Protect Public?

Washington, DC – Joseph P. Nacchio, the former chairman/CEO of Qwest Communications International and of two national commissions on security and infrastructure, will speak at a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference on Wednesday, July 29 – to explain why he believes the USA Freedom Act signed into law last month provides inadequate protection against National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk data collection of the public’s electronic communications.

Nacchio, the leader of the regional Bell provider for 14 Western states, plans to argue that one of the greatest threats to American freedom comes from the U.S. government. Government surveillance that violates the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment “chills” free speech under the First Amendment, he says. Also, he argues that America faces over-criminalization of its justice system and inappropriate political criteria used to determine which targets to prosecute.

Nacchio holds a rare position to comment, particularly on the surveillance reforms in the new law that positions private companies as a protector of customer data from potential government over-reach. In early 2001 before 9/11, Nacchio declined the Bush administration’s request to cooperate in the warrantless monitoring of customer data. Although many details remain classified, he has been widely reported as the only top telecom executive to demand a court order or approval under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to turn over records to the NSA.

At the time, Nacchio also chaired two national commissions under the administration of President George W. Bush. One was the presidentially appointed National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Also, FCC Chairman Michael Powell appointed Nacchio to chair the Network Reliability and Interoperability Committee. The Bush administration later cancelled large numbers of federal contracts for Qwest services and obtained a six-year prison sentence on charges of insider trading by Nacchio, who lost his appellate and Supreme Court claims that the criminal charges were based on reprisal.

Later on July 29, he receives a human rights “corporate courage” award at the annual Whistle Blowers Summit on Capitol Hill.

This NPC Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29 at 10 a.m. in the club’s Peter Zenger Room, on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building at 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C.

Like all Newsmakers events, this news conference is open to credentialed media and NPC members, free of charge. No advance registration is required.

Michael Smith, Newsmaker event host , 703-623-3834

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Michael Smith