Former Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn is expected to testify in great detail before a congressional commission Sept. 28 about her role in the spy scandal that has enveloped the company.
CEO Mark Hurd, who became chairman after Dunn resigned earlier this month, is also expected to testify, claiming there was “no excuse” for how the spying into reporters and fellow board members was allowed to continue.
Their testimony comes on the same day that the company announced that Ann Baskins, the general counsel at HP, has resigned from working for the Palo Alto, Calif., computer maker.
Baskins Sept. 28 invoked her constitutional right not to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that is investigating how HP came to use a method known as pretexting to obtain the personal information of several board members suspected of leaking information to the press and the reporters who received information about internal HP discussions.
Two other former HP executives—Kevin Hunsaker, formerly an HP lawyer and ethics officer, and Anthony Gentilucci, HPs former head of global investigation—as well as private investigator Ronald DeLia also pleaded the Fifth Amendment. DeLia, who runs Security Outsourcing Solutions, was used to track down who was leaking the confidential information from HP board meetings.
How the company came to hire an outside detective agency that used pretexting–the process of obtaining an individuals personal data such as phone records by pretending to be that person—and other methods to obtain information is expected to become a central part of their testimony.
In prepared remarks, Dunn is expected to testify that the problems with board leaks started almost as she assumed the chairmanship on Feb. 7, 2005, around the same time that Carly Fiorina resigned as CEO.
“It is now well reported that the HP Board, particularly as it was constituted in the first year or so of my chairmanship, was beset by considerable conflict among directors,” according to Dunns prepared testimony.
“I was cognizant of those conflicts because I heard about them from nearly all sides. Among the most corrosive issues diving directors was fundamental distrust by the fact that the boards most sensitive discussions kept ending up in the newspapers,” said Dunn, who stepped down as the chairman on Sept. 12.
Through 33 pages of testimony, Dunn is expected to delve into details about how the investigation started, her efforts to keep the board and Hurd informed about the investigation and her belief that none of the methods used were illegal.
“I was fully convinced that HP would never engage in anything illegal, and the privacy issues related to our directors were balanced in my mind against their eagerness to get to the bottom of the problem,” according to Dunns testimony.
Hurd, whose own role in the leak investigation has come into question, will testify that as the months passed, the “end came to justify the means.”
“What began as a proper and serious inquiry of leaks to the press of sensitive company information from within the HP board became a rogue investigation that violated HPs own principles and values,” according to Hurds testimony. “There is no excuse for this.”
Hurd will also testify about the steps HP has taken to look into the scandal on its own and what it has done to address its corporate ethics and company guidelines.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include more details of the hearing.