Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer Mark Hurd blamed the scandal that has besieged his company on “a rogue investigation” that got out of hand, in an advance copy of his Congressional testimony released by a House Subcommittee on Wednesday.
“How did such an abuse of privacy occur in a company renowned for its privacy? The end came to justify the means,” Hurd wrote. “The investigation team became so focused on finding the source of the leaks that they lost sight of the privacy of reporters and others. They lost sight of the values HP has always represented.”
Former HP Chairman Patricia Dunn,
forced to resign Friday
because of the scandal, defended in her testimony her decision to investigate the leaks of confidential board discussions to the news media.
Both are among several witnesses expected at a hearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday in Washington. The committee is looking into the practice of “pretexting,” or using false pretenses to gain access to confidential records. Investigators hired by HP to find the source of leaks engaged in pretexting to get hold of the phone records of directors, HP employees and reporters who cover the Palo Alto, Calif., technology company.
Although much of the criticism of the scandal surrounds the tactics used by the investigators, Dunn wrote in her testimony that equal consideration should be given to the leaks from within the company that damaged HP.
HP’s board was notorious for its leaks to news media and that such disclosures made it difficult for the board to deal with important issues candidly, she wrote.
“I wish fervently that none of this had ever happened,” Dunn wrote in her testimony. “But boards have an unquestionable obligation to take steps to prevent [leaks]. That certain steps taken during the investigation went well beyond what was appropriate does not undermine the importance of the board’s mission in this matter.”