HP CEO Responds to House Committee

HP CEO Mark Hurd has released documents that put a light back on his company’s leaks investigation scandal.

The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations questioned Hurd and other HP executives last month in a public hearing and promised to follow up with written questions to Hurd.

This week Hurd responded to the first of two letters of questions the Committee sent.

In a cover letter to his answers, Hurd told Committee Chairman Ed Whitfield that it was important for HP to “address the mistakes that were made and to explain to the Subcommittee and to the public the steps HP  is taking to ensure that such lapses do not happen again.”

However, Hurd’s written answers did not significantly expand on his responses before the committee, and he frequently stated he didn’t recall certain details related to his knowledge of the leaks investigation that he was asked about.

Specifically, Hurd was asked about a meeting with HP’s outside investigators investigating leaks by board members. Hurd said he only attended part of the meeting.

Former Board Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, former Chief Counsel Ann Baskins and other HP officials were at the meeting where the issue of obtaining the phone records of those being investigated was discussed.

Dunn, Baskins and several other HP officials have since resigned from the company. Hurd said someone in the meeting made a remark about obtaining phone record information off the Web.

Hurd wrote that he thought “there must be some sort of Web site with this information.”

The investigators hired by HP used a technique called pretexting, which involves a process of falsely assuming someone else’s identity to get their phone records.

The California State Attorney General has charged Dunn and several of the outside investigators for their alleged role in the pretexting, relating it to identity theft, which is illegal in California.

It was also revealed that Hurd’s own HP-issued cell phone calling records had been obtained by investigators. Hurd said he became aware his own phone records were acquired sometime after HP board member Tom Perkins resigned after complaining about how the leaks investigation was being handled.

Perkins had discovered his phone records and that of other board members were the subject of scrutiny by investigators hired by HP.

Hurd answered “Not that I recall” to questions about whether anyone in the meeting discussed which types of phone-record information was being obtained.

He later said “In retrospect, I wish that I had been more focused on investigatory methodologies when the remark was made … Unfortunately, I was not focused on the issue, so I did not dive into the details.”

In a statement, HP described the letters as “routine” in the aftermath of the investigation and that HP would continue to cooperate with the committee. It’s not known what questions are in the second letter or when HP will respond.

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