Lawmakers Press HP on Corporate Spying Scandal

HP used network of private investigators who burrowed into the personal lives of journalists and HP directors


Besides the inquiry by the House committee, federal and California prosecutors are investigating whether company insiders or outside investigators broke the law. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has said he has enough evidence to indict HP insiders and contractors. And the Securities and Exchange Commission is pursuing a civil inquiry.

Hurd, who succeeded Dunn last Friday as chairman of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP, apologized to those whose privacy was violated in the leak investigation.

"How did such an abuse of privacy occur in a company renowned for its commitment to privacy? It's an age-old story. The ends came to justify the means," he said in prepared testimony for the congressional hearing.

Hurd said Dunn had told him of the existence of the investigation, "but I was not involved in the investigation itself."

So closely tied was DeLia's firm, Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc. of Needham, Mass., to Hewlett-Packard - for which it worked almost exclusively for eight years - that Dunn refers to the firm as a "captive subsidiary" of Hewlett-Packard.

In a twist, it was DeLia who performed the background check on Hurd when the company was vetting him last year as a candidate for CEO.

Besides Dunn, Hurd and Baskins, Larry Sonsini - HP's outside lawyer and one of Silicon Valley's most influential figures, who assured company executives of the legality of the spying probe - agreed to appear at the hearing.

The committee has ordered DeLia and two other key figures in the leak probe to testify: Kevin T. Hunsaker, until recently the company's chief ethics officer, and Anthony R. Gentilucci, who managed HP's global investigations unit in Boston.

Five private investigators believed to have served as the foot soldiers in the company's efforts, also were subpoenaed to testify.

HP shares were up 1.2 percent at $35.80 on the New York Stock Exchange as the hearing was underway Thursday morning.


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