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House aide: Dunn, Baskins, Sonsini to testify

And House asks two more investigators to appear at Sept. 28 committee hearing into HP "pretexting" scandal.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
3 min read
Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn and General Counsel Ann Baskins are expected to testify at a congressional hearing later this month, a committee aide said Tuesday.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has gotten indications that Dunn and Baskins will testify but has yet to receive a formal confirmation letter, the aide said of a hearing regarding HP's role in "pretexting," the use of false means or impersonation to obtain personal records.

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Outside counsel Larry Sonsini plans to testify, CNET News.com learned on Tuesday.

"Yes, Larry intends to testify and looks forward to the opportunity," Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati spokeswoman Courtney Dorman said.

However, it is unclear how much Sonsini will be able to say, given that much of his work for HP may be covered by attorney-client privilege.

As for the fourth person asked last week to testify, outside investigator Ronald DeLia has notified the committee that he intends to appear but will likely exercise his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, a committee aide said.

An HP representative declined comment.

Separately on Tuesday, the House committee asked for the testimony of two more investigators--one an internal investigator and the other a Florida-based private investigator who has been linked in press reports to the HP probe.

The chairman of the investigations and oversight subcommittee, Ed Whitfield, reiterated past letters in encouraging HP to use the hearing as "an opportunity to be fully open and transparent."

The committee asked for a response by 2 p.m. PDT Wednesday.

HP has said two of its employees had their records pretexted--along with several board members, nine journalists and an unspecified number of people outside the company.

On Friday, News.com reported that HP spokesman Michael Moeller, a former journalist, was one employee whose phone records were accessed. The company confirmed on Tuesday that another of its representatives, Brigida Bergkamp, had her telephone records improperly accessed as part of HP's investigation into unauthorized release of information to the press. The San Jose Mercury News reported earlier on Tuesday that she was the second employee whose records were accessed by HP.

The San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News reported on Tuesday that HP also targeted the phone records of former CEO Carly Fiorina, while The Wall Street Journal said Sonsini had his phone records targeted as well. HP declined to comment on whether either person had been pretexted.

The Journal also reported that an internal HP investigator e-mailed others at the company to warn that its use of pretexting might be illegal. HP declined to comment on the e-mail.

Beyond the congressional probe into HP's use of pretexting, the California Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI are conducting criminal probes. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also sent HP a letter inquiring into the company's disclosure of the departure of director Tom Perkins, who left after disagreements over the handling of the leak probe.

Last week, Dunn said she would step aside as chairman in January. Following that announcement, director George Keyworth said he would resign from HP's board, acknowledging that he had been a source for a January story on News.com that had prompted HP's probe into media leaks but also lashing out at the probe techniques.