02:07 AM

Wilson Sonsini report: RAND expert advised pretexting

The HP scandal widened its poisonous reach today with a story in the New York Times that anti-terrorism expert Brian Jenkins advised HP to pretext board members.

The Times' Damon Darlin writes that Wilson Sonsini's report to HP on the leaks included the line:

“Jenkins specifically recommended that they conduct pretexting to get information if they had not already done so.”

Jenkins was consulting with HP as a security expert when he was asked about the leak situation.

The report said that the company’s general counsel, Ann O. Baskins, called Mr. Jenkins on Jan. 30. Kevin Hunsaker, a senior counsel working for Ms. Baskins, also told the lawyers at Wilson Sonsini that he spoke with Mr. Jenkins. The lawyer’s report said that Ms. Baskins told Patricia C. Dunn, the company’s chairwoman at the time, that “Jenkins agreed with their techniques.”

The report also seems to exonerate CEO Mark Hurd of any knowledge of the pretexting plans.

Pretexting appears to first come to HP execs' attention in June 05, in a meeting attended by Ann Baskins and Pattie Dunn. Baskins' handwritten notes from that meeting include the word "pretexting."
Hurd was then informed about pretexting in a July 22 meeting, although he seems not to have appreciated its import.

According to the report, Mr. Hurd did recall hearing at a meeting on July 22, 2005, that phone record information was obtained off the Web. He told the lawyers that he “remembered thinking that must be a Web site with such information.”

Mr. Hurd told [Wilson Sonsini] that he “recalled thinking at one point that the people at the meeting did not know what they were talking about — that they had theories with ‘nothing behind them.’ ” The law firm’s report also said Mr. Hurd recalled “being under whelmed by the details.”