October 3, 2006 11:38 AM PDT

Dunn gave phone numbers to PIs

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Former Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn may not have known what "pretexting" meant, but she personally provided to HP's outside investigators the telephone numbers of reporters whose phone records were accessed without their permission.

Documents made public last week reveal that Dunn provided the home, office and cell phone numbers of two BusinessWeek reporters to Ronald DeLia, the operator of Security Outsourcing Solutions, which was hired by HP to conduct a hunt for boardroom leaks.

In an e-mail from Dunn to DeLia dated May 16, 2005, she wrote, "Here are their numbers." Following that were the phone numbers of reporters Ben Elgin and Peter Burrows. The actual telephone numbers were redacted in the documents reviewed by CNET News.com.

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In an internal report supplied to Dunn and others on efforts to unearth a media leak in 2005, the company's investigators also offered a rundown of reporters' telephone calls. A source close to the investigation said that Robert Sherbin, HP's vice president of external communications, provided the phone numbers to Dunn and that she believed investigators needed those numbers to find out if the reporters were talking to board members.

"I don't recall giving Miss Dunn these numbers," Sherbin told News.com Monday. "If I did, it's because they were requested by her in her capacity as HP chairman and it would have been in relation to a story that BusinessWeek was pursuing at the time that she was involved in. I certainly had no idea that their numbers would be used for any reason that was not proper and legitimate."

In an example of the detailed information that the investigator provided to HP, the report states that "Ben Elgin placed a call to (BusinessWeek reporter) Roger Crockett's cell phone on March 9, 2005," according to the June 15, 2005 report. "And Crockett placed two calls to Elgin's cell phone (the same day)."

There's no indication in the records that Dunn ever heard or read the word "pretext," which refers to the practice of obtaining private records through the use of false pretenses, or that she knew the practice was legally questionable. But the documents indicate Dunn was intimately involved in the investigation with DeLia.

"We are being hung out to dry. The politics, smokes, mirrors are high. I have lost a lot of respect for a lot of people, amazing really."
--Anthony Gentilucci, then HP's security manager, in a Sept. 6 e-mail

Dunn has maintained that, until very recently, she had no idea that pretexting was used to get those phone records or that they were obtained through legally questionable means.

"My understanding was these records were publicly available...I understood that you could call up and get phone records," Dunn told a congressional committee last week.

The new details regarding Dunn's involvement come after last week's hearing into HP's investigation by a U.S. House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. HP still faces a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission and criminal investigations by California's attorney general and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern California. Dunn has resigned, and several HP executives involved in the leak probe have left the company.

The more than 700 pages released by the subcommittee on Monday include e-mails, memos, bills from private investigators and reports that provide new insights into the lengths to which HP executives were willing to go to expose the source of media leaks.

The documents also suggest that HP CEO Mark Hurd knew about the use of phone records in the investigation earlier than was initially believed.

Hurd recalled hearing during a July 2005 meeting that "somebody mentioned obtaining phone record information off the Web," according to a memo from Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, HP's outside law firm.

"Hurd remembered thinking that there must be a Web site with such information," the Sonsini attorneys wrote in their Aug. 25, 2006, memo.

But in other statements given to the law firm's attorneys, who were asked by HP to look into the company's investigative tactics, Hurd said he did not remember details about the techniques used by HP's investigators and said he hadn't heard the word "pretext" until recently.

In addition, the documents released Monday indicate that HP's investigators were after more than just phone records.

CONTINUED: Saga of the stolen laptop…
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
BusinessWeek, reporter, Patricia Dunn, pretexting, phone number

8 comments

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They knew it was fraud....
They had too. Just like one of the congressmen asked Ms Dunn whether she would turn over her phone records to him on a whim ans she answered "yes", PURE BS.
And to top it off you don't just get the records, you work up to the records by getting all information that the phone companies are going to require when you are pretexting. So the bigger picture is that a lot of these people have much more information on the reporters and directors than they are saying, like drivers licenses, social security numbers, account numbers for other non-relevant utility accounts, credit card numbers, etc.

They are all guilty of fraud and identity theft.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that puts browser key holes into perspective...
so I guess its not profitable to protect the masses.... darn, I better find a cheap place to retire!

what? invent?!... ha ha ha
Posted by freq (121 comments )
Link Flag
Ignorance of the Law, or Just Plain Ignorant
Either way, prep a bed at The California Institution for Women in Corona.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ignorance is no excuse
That's what I was told when in didn't realize I broke the law, and I paid for it too. But then I am not rich or Female. 10 to 1 says she gets a slap on the wrist and community service.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Link Flag
HPGate=incarceration
Of course, she's the ringleader of this HP-Gate fiasco.
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Link Flag
Dunn playing Dumb
I hate how Dunn's playing this selective memory/innocent act. The email trails are too vivid and clear pointing out her faults in aggressively pursing people at HP and reporters.

With a home, business and cell, and SS#'s that'll get you access to almost any piece of sensitive and private information. This went too far; there are better ways of staying competitive while keeping HPs values <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=109" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=109</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dunn lied to Congress -- that's Perjury!
*** "My understanding was these records were publicly available...I understood that you could call up and get phone records," Dunn told a congressional committee last week. ***

What a bald-faced lie. No, the Chairman of a major US corporation did not think you could just call up the phone company and say "Hey, please fax me this year's phone records for this complete strangerm, thanks!" What a scumbag. Among her other crimes she here perjured herself before Congress.
Posted by MikeDson (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you don't know, its not a crime.
Using Dunn's logic, anyone could go out and commit any type of offense they pleased. All they would have to do is just tell the authorities they didn't KNOW their actions were illegal. And for that reason, could not be held accountable.
Posted by Lyricraider (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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