House Panel Subpoenas 3 in HP Scandal
- By The Associated Press
- September 25, 2006
Three people involved in Hewlett-Packard Co.'s efforts to unmask a boardroom leak have been ordered to testify at this week's congressional hearing on the corporate spying scandal that's so far claimed the company's chairwoman and two directors.
The subpoenas are the first issued by the panel in its investigation. They were served over the weekend, according to a congressional aide who asked not to be identified because the investigation is continuing.
Until now, the invitations to testify at Thursday's hearing had been voluntary and other witnesses had accepted them.
The subpoenas from the House Energy and Commerce Committee went to Kevin T. Hunsaker, the technology company's chief ethics officer; Anthony R. Gentilucci, who manages HP's global investigations unit in Boston; and Ron DeLia, the operator of a detective firm hired by HP in the elaborate and intrusive investigation to trace the source of a boardroom leak.
Determined to protect confidential board discussions, then-HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn hired investigators who impersonated board members, employees and journalists to obtain their phone records. The detectives also spied on an HP director and concocted an e-mail sting to dupe reporter Dawn Kawamoto of CNet Networks Inc.'s technology news site.
Federal and California prosecutors are pursuing criminal investigations of the company's leak probe.
DeLia, who runs Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc. of Needham, Mass., previously signaled that he would appear at the hearing but might invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer lawmakers' questions. He had requested a subpoena from the committee as a legal formality, the congressional aide said.
Both Hunsaker and Gentilucci are likely to lose their jobs as part of a housecleaning planned by HP's chief executive, Mark Hurd, a person familiar with the matter said Friday. The person asked not to be identified because the terms of their departure are still being negotiated.
DeLia and HP representatives did not return messages seeking comment Monday.
Documents have shown how deeply the investigators intruded into the personal lives of seven HP directors, two employees, nine journalists and family members of the targeted individuals.
Dunn, who authorized the company investigation but has insisted she wasn't aware of the extreme tactics used, resigned Friday. Hurd, who immediately succeeded her while retaining the CEO and president positions, called the investigators' tactics "very disturbing" and apologized to those who were targeted in the investigation.
Dunn and Hurd have agreed to testify at the hearing.
Hunsaker in February pointed DeLia toward two board members he suspected of leaking information to journalists and made specific requests that the hired investigator obtain personal telephone records, a company document obtained by The Associated Press shows.
The Feb. 3 e-mail from Hunsaker to DeLia contrasts with a Jan. 30 message in which Hunsaker, a senior attorney in HP's legal department, expressed his concerns about the legality of the investigators' methods in pursuing the company's leak probe.
"Thanks Ron. I now strongly believe it's Keyworth," Hunsaker wrote, referring to director George Keyworth, who resigned this month. He also suspected another board member, Tom Perkins, who quit the board this spring to protest the investigation's tactics. He also asked DeLia to find out more about Keyworth's wife.
"I also think Perkins is leaking info for personal reasons, but I think BOTH January 23rd articles by Kawamoto were leaked by Keyworth," the e-mail continued. "Can you please see if we can find out Marion Keyworth's cell number and pull those records?"
HP shares, which took a hit Thursday after news reports indicated Hurd might have played a greater role in the probe, gained 60 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $35.71 in Monday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.