House panel on HP scandal adds second day of hearings

A House Subcommittee probing the Hewlett-Packard Co. pretetxting scandal has invited wireless carrier CEOs to a second day of hearings this week.

The US House of Representatives Subcommittee looking into the HP boardroom spying scandal has added a second day of hearings and issued subpoenas for some witnesses.

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee is holding hearings on September 28-29 on pretexting, the practice of obtaining private phone records under false pretences from phone companies.

On the second day of hearings, the subcommittee has invited executives of the major wireless phone carriers to testify as well as the chairmen of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Several people connected with the HP scandal have already accepted invitations to testify before the subcommittee. HP has admitted that outside investigators it hired earlier this year to find the source of news leaks from the HP board engaged in pretexting to access their phone records.

The committee issued subpoeanas compelling three witnesses to testify in regards to the HP scandal: HP senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker; HP global security manager Anthony Gentilucci; and Ron DeLia, operator of Security Outsourcing Solutions (SOS), a Boston-based private investigations firm hired by HP. Hunsaker and Gentillucci worked closely with SOS to investigate the leaks, including use of pretexting, according to a report released by an attorney hired by Hurd to investigate HP's investigation of the leaks.

Congress has before it legislation to make pretexting a federal crime. California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has a bill on his desk to make pretexting a state crime, but Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, said state criminal charges could still be filed against those involved in the HP scandal under existing state law.

The CEOs of US Cellular, Alltel Communications, Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have been asked to appear at the second day of hearings.

The subcommittee said in a news release that the hearings are part of a seven-month inquiry it's been conducting into data brokers and the questionable practice of pretexting.

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