(Denver Business Journal) Joe Nacchio, the convicted former CEO of Denver-based Qwest, took to the airwaves Thursday to link his legal troubles to his alleged refusal to take part in an NSA surveillance program.

“My downfall … began on Feb. 27, 2001, when I was invited to a meeting at Fort Meade, which is NSA headquarters,” Nacchio said on Fox Business Network’s Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo in his first television interview since his release from prison last year on an insider-trading conviction.

“And it was a legitimate meeting, [a] legitimate classified project, and then at the end of that meeting, another request was made,” he said, according to excerpts provided by Fox Business. “I found that request to be peculiar. I didn’t think it was legal. I asked for legal justification and we never got it, and therefore we never did it. And that was the moment that things turned down for me.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.