HP Execs Testify Before Congress

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-09-29 Print this article Print

Former Chairwoman Patricia Dunn claims she was not responsible for the spying scandal; CEO Mark Hurd vows to "get to the bottom of this."

WASHINGTON—Throughout the monthlong controversy that has engulfed Hewlett-Packard over its investigation into news leaks, company executives have at once sounded contrite and dismayed at what happened, but have refused to take responsibility.

That trend continued here Sept. 28 during a daylong hearing before a House subcommittee looking into methods used by investigators hired by HP to find who was leaking sensitive company information to news media.

It was a sometimes frustrated Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that grilled HP executives—in particular former board Chairman Patricia Dunn, who initiated the investigation in early 2005 and again earlier this year—and saw a total of 10 other company employees or people hired by HP refuse to testify, instead opting to plead Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

Click here for more on the hearings.

"What were you thinking?" asked Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a member of the parent House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who sat in on the hearing. "Where was management when this investigation was running amok? Where was the board of directors? The cure appears to have been far worse than the disease. Where were the lawyers? None of the lawyers stepped up to their responsibility."

Dunn, who resigned from the board of directors Sept. 22, testified that while she initiated the investigation, she was assured throughout by lawyers and the investigators that the methods used were legal. While dismayed at the results, Dunn refused to take the hit for them.

"I do not accept responsibility for what happened," Dunn said when asked if she felt she was culpable for the mess.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: HP Execs Testify Before Congress

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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