From today’s New York Times…
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 7 — The California attorney general’s investigation into the purloining of private phone records by agents of Hewlett-Packard has revealed that the monitoring effort began earlier than previously indicated and included journalists as targets.
The targets included nine journalists who have covered Hewlett-Packard, including one from The New York Times [John Markoff — JN], the company said. The company said this week that its board had hired private investigators to identify directors leaking information to the press and that those investigators had posed as board members — a technique known as pretexting — to gain access to their personal phone records.
In acknowledging Thursday that journalists’ records had also been obtained, the company said it was apologizing to each one. “H.P. is dismayed that the phone records of journalists were accessed without their knowledge,” a company spokesman, Michael Moeller, said.
Hang on, let’s deconstruct that last sentence. “H.P. is dismayed”: legally, “H.P” is the Board of the company. But the company said earlier that that same Board “had hired private investigators to identify directors leaking information to the press”. So the Board is “dismayed” by what the Board did? And that same Board has done nothing yet about sacking its CEO.
Goor Morning Silicon Valley reports…
“Colossally stupid.” That’s how California Attorney General Bill Lockyer described Hewlett-Packard’s ill-conceived investigation of boardroom leaks to the press …. On Wednesday afternoon Lockyer’s office subpoenaed some of HP’s officials after the company, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (PDF), acknowledged that a controversial data-gathering technique known as “pretexting” had been used in the investigation. “I have no settled view as to whether or not the chairwoman’s acts were illegal, but I do think they were colossally stupid,” Lockyer told the Mercury News. “We’ll have to wait until the investigation concludes to determine whether they were felony stupid or not.”