RealTime IT News

HP CEO Offers to Testify in Leak Scandal

UPDATED: As HP readies for a make-or-break news conference later today, Congressional investigators requested that HP CEO Mark Hurd testify before a U.S. House committee.

The House Energy and Commerce committee accepted Thursday night Hurd's offer to testify Sept. 28 to explain his involvement in a scandal over how an HP internal investigation obtained private phone records of board members and journalists.

"Mark is doing this to be as transparent as possible about current events," Ryan Donovan, an HP spokesman, told internetnews.com.

Hurd joins a growing cast of characters called to answer questions about their involvement in what has become a heavily watched Silicon Valley soap opera.

Prior to Hurd's call to testify, Patricia Dunn, HP's outgoing board chairwoman; Kevin Hunsaker, HP's senior counsel; Ann Baskins, the company's general counselor; Larry Sonsini, outside counsel; Fred Adler, an HP computer security expert; Anthony Gentilucci, who runs HP's Global Security unit; and Joe Despante, who runs Action Research Group in Melbourne, Fla., have been asked to testify.

A subpoena has been issued to Ron DeLia, a Boston-area private investigator used by HP to conduct the leak probe.

DeLia refused the committee's request to testify. The Congressional committee Thursday authorized issuing subpoenas to compel some witnesses to testify.

In other news, after HP "put the brakes on" a California investigation of the company's conduct, the computer maker is "showing encouraging signs" of renewed interest in assisting Attorney General Bill Lockyer, according to Nathan Barankins, a spokesman in the AG's office.

The AG's office now says "the brick wall is no longer in existence," according to Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Lockyer.

After speaking with HP lawyers Thursday, Lockyer has been promised greater cooperation, including expedited interviews.

A week ago, HP "cooperation declined," said Dresslar, adding that it seemed to happen as the company hired outside law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to handle its state and federal investigations.

HP denies it ever stopped cooperating.

"HP has been and continues to cooperate with the California AG's office," Donovan told internetnews.com. "There's been no change."

Barankins confirmed Lockyer said the office would "paper HP with subpoenas," but the spokesperson said that step now may not be needed.