Hurd (HP’s new CEO) plays the “I don’t remember” Reaganesque card

I like Reagan and think he was a fine President – don’t take that headline the wrong way. However, much like Reagan during the whole Iran Contra debacle, Hurd played the “I don’t remember” and “I didn’t know about that” game in a completely unconvincing manner. In a press conference (in which, oddly enough, the press were not allowed to do anything but listen, kinda making is a press-listening event, which in its own right is unusual I suppose) Hurd said he authorized a fake email to help track down the source of a news leak at HP, but that he didn’t recall if he had authorized sending spyware with the email.

He acknowledged approving a plot earlier this year to trick a CNet reporter into revealing her sources by having an investigator e-mail her, posing as a disgruntled HP employee. But he said he didn’t recall approving another gambit: e-mailing the reporter a purported HP document containing hidden spyware to trace her sources.

And he admitted he was given a report in March detailing the methods used by investigators, as well as the results. “I understand there is also a written report of the investigation addressed to me and others, but I did not read it. I could have, and I should have,” he said.

Ahhhhh, the whole ignorance is bliss defense. Of course, we all know that lack of knowledge does not excuse one from a crime – just ask my wife about the ticket she got for turning right at a no-right-turn intersection where the sign was completely covered by a tree (we had pictures at the time – the sign was indeed not visible but the judge still made her pay because “you should have known” about the sign). He had the necessary information to know what was being done. And seeing how important the high level executives seemed to believe this matter was, I would expect he should have read the report to know what was going on.

Hurd said the “trigger for me” that something was wrong came in the form of an e-mail he received after a May board meeting. At that point, he retained the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to do “a more comprehensive investigation,” he said.

I’m just curious on this – if he retained a law firm in May (or June, if it took a while to react or the board meeting was late in the month), why did we not find out about HP’s illegal activities until August? I mean, if this was really important to handle properly, which Hurd seems to claim in his statements if you read the full article, why wasn’t it important to let people know of HP’s illegal activities before that information escaped somehow last month?

Elsewhere in the article is this quote from former HP chairwoman Dunn:

Dunn issued a statement saying she was resigning “in the best interests” of HP and blaming the fiasco on the investigators the company used, saying she didn’t select them. She said she “followed the proper processes” but that the investigators “let me and the company down.”

Again – “It’s not my fault. I played by the rules. Someone else screwed up.” In other words, she’s really an innocent victim of someone else’s mistake. I almost shed a tear for her. (via Dan Gillmor’s blog)

[tags]More on the HP illegal spying case, HP execs play “Pass the buck” on blame for spy fiasco[/tags]