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New questions for Hurd, but few answers

HP's chief executive tells a House subcomittee that he can't recall details about a 2005 meeting when spying tactics were discussed. PDF: Hurd's response

When asked by Congress to supply more information about Hewlett-Packard's spying campaign against journalists and company directors, CEO Mark Hurd could recall few details, according to documents released by the company Wednesday.

In an Oct. 17 letter, Rep. Ed Whitfield, chairman of the House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, asked Hurd to answer more than 20 questions. Most of them concerned a July 22, 2005, meeting attended by Hurd during which HP investigators discussed some of the tactics employed to obtain private phone records belonging to company directors, employees and journalists, including three from CNET

Hurd offered few details and repeatedly responded to Whitfield's queries with "Not that I recall," or "I can't say." (Click here for PDF.)

In September, Hurd appeared before the subcommittee during a hearing on the methods used to obtain information during HP's effort to uncover a news leak. The company has acknowledged obtaining private phone records belonging to journalists, employees and members of the company's board.

HP has admitted that company investigators tricked employees at phone companies into divulging the information, a practice known as pretexting.

Patricia Dunn, HP's former chairman, and four others who took part in the company's probe were charged last month in California with four felonies, including identity theft and conspiracy.

California's attorney general has not ruled out the possibility that others involved in the case may be charged.

During his testimony before Congress, Hurd denied knowing until very recently that HP sleuths had used pretexting to obtain records.

But e-mail records and statements by some of those involved in the spying have raised questions about whether Hurd had an opportunity to learn specific details about the company's record gathering.