Just one major telecommunications company refused to participate in a legally dubious NSA surveillance program in 2001. A few months later, its CEO was indicted by federal prosecutors. He was convicted, served four and a half years of his sentence and was released this month.
Prosecutors claim Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio was guilty of insider trading, and that his prosecution had nothing to do with his refusal to allow spying on his customers without the permission of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But to this day, Nacchio insists that his prosecution was retaliation for refusing to break the law on the NSA's behalf.
After his release from custody Sept. 20, Nacchio told the Wall Street Journal that he feels "vindicated" by the content of the leaks that show that the agency was collecting American's phone records.