Have you heard of a guy named Joseph Nacchio? Wish I could say I knew the name before Monday, but I didn't.
When the NSA asked telecommunications companies in 2001 to allow the agency to spy on phone customers, only one company said no. Mr. Nacchio was the CEO of the company, Qwest. The company's lawyers told Nacchio that the NSA spying was illegal, and alone among telephone executives, he stood up to the NSA.
Qwest immediately began losing government contracts. And by an amazing coincidence, the government discovered that Mr. Nacchio was a dangerous criminal, guilty of insider training.
Mr. Nacchio's defense was that he was the victim of a political prosecution, retaliation for not giving in when the NSA said, "Nice little phone company you've got there. Be a shame if something happened to it."
Maybe Mr. Nacchio WAS a dangerous criminal, and was offering a weak defense. Then again, it's hard to judge, since the federal judge refused to allow him to present any evidence in support of his allegations.
Of course, only a crazy conspiracy theorist would think the federal government uses its vast power to punish people who make themselves inconvenient. Nothing to see here, folks, move along. How about those crazy Kardashians?
More here, and here.
Hat tip: Timothy Lee.