• Tech

Leaks, Lies and the HP Way

2 minute read
Barbara Kiviat

The drama at computer maker Hewlett-Packard took a turn for the surreal last week when ex-chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four others were charged with felonies, including identity theft and conspiracy, in a spy scandal that has sparked congressional hearings and a wave of high-profile resignations, including Dunn’s. Nearly two years ago, the media started publishing things only an HP director could know. Dunn tapped private investigator Ronald DeLia to find the leaker. The operation–which included PIs posing as journalists and HP directors in order to access their phone records–fell on the wrong side of the law, according to California’s attorney general. TIME reviews some of the intrigue’s major players.

THE PLAYER THE CLAIM THE RESPONSE THE SHOCKER Patricia Dunn Accused of knowing that DeLia’s underlings were obtaining phone records “by ruse” and playing along Says she thought the records were public and HP lawyers told her the legwork was kosher Possible jail time isn’t her biggest worry; she was due to start chemo for ovarian cancer last week Ronald DeLia Like the other defendants, charged with conspiracy, fraud and using personal data without permission Took the Fifth in front of Congress. After being indicted, said he respected the law—and had not broken it Impersonating someone to get phone records isn’t always illegal. He was charged under broad fraud laws Mark Hurd HP’s CEO didn’t even bother to read a report prepared by the investigators. Prosecutors aren’t going after him Apologizes to anyone willing to listen—including Congress—for not paying more attention to the leak probe It turns out at least one CEO focuses on the boring details of running a company’s operations Carly Fiorina HP’s poor performance led to the 2005 ouster of the onetime CEO, providing much fodder for leaks Retorts, in an amazingly timed book out this week, that she laid groundwork for HP’s recent success Ordered an investigation into earlier leaks right before being fired—but it didn’t yield results either

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