Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bush Administration & Hewlett-Packard Hate Most “Leakers”

While Karl Rove gets a free pass, most “leakers” are not so lucky. A story from the HP board room shows business and government have much in common. Both are willing to use illegal tactics to find the source of unwanted leaks.

HP investigators used the same techniques to obtain a suspected board member’s phone records that criminals use to get social security and other information that enables them to fraudulently obtain credit cards. They use a false identity as a pretext for having a right to that information. Legal action has been taken against pretexters in other cases.

The Board Chair, Patricia Dunn oversaw the investigation and presented its findings to the full board in their May meeting. The suspect refused to resign, but another board member did offended by the whole matter. The resigning board member then strongly pursued his ethical and legal concerns about the investigation.

HP chose to report the resignation as routine and not the result of a dispute, clearly the root cause. A high ranking Board committee hired counsel to study the situation. It lacked a clear finding on the legality of pretexting using such words as “not generally unlawful” but also not coming down solidly on the side of legality.

Angry Presidents and CEOs order illegal investigations as payback, to enact revenge. How can this be given the “infallibility” of democracy and free markets? It all sounds a little too Saddamish to me.

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