[JURIST] Members of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee [committee website] lambasted [chairman's statement] executives of the Hewlett-Packard Corporation [corporate website; JURIST news archive] Thursday for their role in a corporate espionage scandal and demanded to know why company executives and attorneys did not put a stop to the program. In a special hearing [agenda] committee members grilled the executives seeking answers to how controversial surveillance tactics such as pretexting [FTC backgrounder] could occur at the company, but few of the committee's questions were actually answered. HP CEO Mark Hurd [profile] read a prepared statement to the committee, saying "I requested and received assurance that the investigation was being performed in the HP standard way, legally and properly." Former Chairwoman Patricia Dunn [Forbes profile], who resigned last week, also told the Committee that she thought the information deemed relevant to an investigation of leaks of board information had been obtained lawfully from public sources. Ann Baskins [profile], the company's former general counsel whose resignation from that position was made public [JURIST report] just before the start of Thursday's hearing, invoked her the Fifth Amendment rightto refuse to testify.
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) compared the scandal to Watergate, saying it was "a plumbers' operation that would make Richard Nixon blush. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) said "that some in a position of authority may now be saying, 'I heard nothing, I saw nothing, I knew nothing'...It is not believable.'' The San Francisco Chronicle has more.