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Former HP chair indicted over same crimes still committed by Bush Administration

Friday, October 06, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: Hewlett-Packard, Bush administration, health news

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(NewsTarget) An internal investigation at Hewlett-Packard that may have used illegal practices has led to the arrests of several key members of the company's hierarchy, but one political critic wants to know why HP's higher ups have been indicted for illegal spying while the Bush administration is not investigated for the same actions.

Company directors at HP had been accusing each other of leaking to the media for a few months, and last month the battle became public when it was revealed that Chairwoman Patricia Dunn allegedly authorized a team of private consultants to acquire home phone records and cell phone records of HP board members without their knowledge.

The investigators reportedly used a well-known identity theft practice known as "pretexting," in which the thief misrepresents himself to get someone else's information, usually using previously acquired personal information about their target to lend credibility to their request. The person might claim to be the owner of a cell phone or home phone and provide some identifying information to get records related to the account. The practice is illegal and is prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission and some states' attorneys general.

The HP directors reviewed the results of the investigation in May, and when board member Tom Perkins learned about the surveillance, he quit the board and stormed out of the meeting. A report in Newsweek said that Perkins then asked government agencies -- among them the California Attorney General's Office -- to investigate the surveillance methods used in the HP case.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer on Wednesday charged Dunn, former HP attorney Kevin Troy Hunsaker, and private investigators Ronald R. DeLia, Mathew Depante and Bryan C. Wagner with four felony counts: fraudulent use of wire, radio or television transmissions; taking, copying and using computer data without authorization; felony identity theft; and conspiracy to commit the aforementioned crimes.

Mike Adams, creator of the CounterThink cartoon series and critic of illegal government practices, said he wanted to know why Dunn and the others were indicted while the Bush Administration is not investigated for unauthorized surveillance.

"Technically, Patricia Dunn was only following the police-state example set by the Bush Administration," Adams said. "If she is to be charged with conspiracy and fraud for spying on a dozen HP employees, what should be the appropriate charge for the Bush Administration, which is spying on all Americans?"

Adams noted that he felt that if it was clear Dunn should be investigated for illegal spying, then the Bush Administration should be similarly scrutinized for its actions since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York. In 2005, a New York Times article uncovered evidence that, since Sept. 11, the NSA had implemented an electronic surveillance program, which used warrantless wiretaps on phones of civilians and even police, ostensibly to keep tabs on suspected terrorists.

"The message from Washington is clear: When the government violates your civil rights, that's 'national security,' but when a business violates your civil rights, that's a serious crime," Adams said. "This type of double standard is exemplary of an administration that believes it is bound by no laws."


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