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HP CEO named in leak probe

Hurd dragged into snooping mess

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HP chief executive Mark Hurd has been pulled into the firm's burgeoning phone snooping mess for approving an email sting operation on a reporter.

Emails seen by the Washington Post suggest that Hurd was aware of the snooping campaign. Specifically, it appears he OK'd an effort to use bogus emails to trick a reporter into disclosing the source of leaks.

Other prongs of the wide-ranging mole hunt operation also saw the company get hold of directors' phone records in an effort to find out who was leaking information. Investigators pretended to be directors and journalists in order to get hold of their phone records. The company is also accused of trying to install a Trojan onto a journalist's computer.

HP even carried out a feasibility study into planting spies into the newsrooms of the Wall Street Journal and CNet.

Hilariously, the investigation was overseen by HP's director of ethics Kevin Hunsaker.

Since the scandal first broke in early September, almost every day has seen ever more bizarrre allegations and a lack of firm action from HP.

HP chairman Patricia Dunn, originally blamed for the scandal, has agreed to resign from her job in January, but will remain on the board. Hurd will then take her job along with his own.

The House Energy Committee, which is investigating the scandal, is to ask for special subpoena powers to expedite its probe.

HP has been criticised for failing to deal with the issue properly and failing to follow good corporate governance practise - by Intel's Andy Grove, among others.

Grove said he was saddened to see HP return to combining the CEO and chairman role. ®

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