rules on Nacchio classified files
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Top officials at the Justice Department's counterespionage
section are among those who will be handling the classified
documents relating to the criminal case of former Qwest
Chief Executive Joe Nacchio, a court order indicated
Tuesday. Denver federal Judge Edward Nottingham issued a
26-page order that describes how the classified information
will be stored, handled and controlled in a secure facility.
Nacchio faces 42 insider-trading charges in connection with
selling $101 million of Qwest stock in the first five months
of 2001 when he allegedly knew the company's financial
condition was deteriorating.
His attorneys have indicated he may argue that he possessed
classified information that led him to be optimistic about
Qwest's financial condition and chances to win certain
lucrative government contracts.
Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for
Colorado, declined to comment on the role of the
counterespionage officials in the matter.
According to the Justice Department's Web site, the
counterespionage section coordinates criminal cases
involving the application of the Classified Information
Procedures Act. It also supervises the investigation and
prosecution of cases affecting national security.
Tuesday's court order specifically names the section's chief
John Dion, deputy chief Richard Roos and attorney
Christopher Simkins as among those who will have access to
the Nacchio documents.
Dion reportedly led the Justice Department's efforts to
investigate who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's
identity until the case was turned over to special counsel
Nottingham's order also prohibits Nacchio's defense team
from contacting any employee of a government intelligence
agency or requesting any information from a government
intelligence agency without proper authorization from the
court or government attorney.