Friday, September 08, 2006

Pattern? Payback Regardless of Legality

A number of people in power have used questionable to outright illegal practices to invoke payback in both government and industry. Hewlett Packard is the latest example of such behavior. AP news reported:

While state Attorney General Bill Lockyer has determined Hewlett-Packard Co.'s clandestine investigation of its own board members violated the law, he says it's still unclear whether anyone will be prosecuted.

Lockyer said Thursday that the Palo Alto-based company's gumshoe tactics to root out the source of a media leak violated two California laws related to identity theft and illegal access to computer records.

The company has landed in a mounting legal and ethical debate for hiring a private investigation firm whose agents impersonated HP officials and journalists to get phone companies to hand over detailed records of home phone calls.

Just one year ago, President Bush stood in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina citing his “zero tolerance” for those who break the law. Apparently obtaining food, water, and shoes after a hurricane is a greater violation. Does it matter who is breaking the law, their income levels, societal status, political affiliations, and their capacity to donate?

Apparently if a friend breaks the law, appropriate latitude may be given. But should an enemy commit an offense, payback is in order even if the methods themselves are illegal. Secret CIA prisons, warrant-less spying here at home, and sham trials have been found illegal, yet no one is in jail. My bet is the same thing happens with HP. Payback at any cost, turns out to be payback at no cost! These are the leadership role models for America’s youth. Bring back Charles Barkley; at least he didn’t claim to be one!

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