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Court 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 Patrick Fitzgerald.

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.,2777,DRMN_23916_4920115,00.html