Friday, September 29, 2006

When control gets out of control, HP edition

Lawmakers Scold HP as Top Lawyer Resigns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co.'s top lawyer resigned on Thursday as U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers scolded current and former top executives for invading individuals' privacy to find the source of boardroom leaks.

It is more than a little ironic that this hearing was held the same day the US Senate effectively abolished the right of habeas corpus.

I wanted to go to the hearing for myself, but was unable to because of the press of end of the month business. I plan to write much more about this, but not until I have had a chance to do a little research into the chain of events.

There are many things that went wrong at HP, but one of the problems was the leaks. Members of the board of directors should be willing to speak on the record. One of my all time favorite West Wing shows dealt with leaks and the atmosphere of distrust they leave in their wake. I think this is a good time to quote it:


There's an old saying: "Those who speak, don't know; and those who know, don't speak." I don't know if that's true or not, but I know that by and large the press doesn't care who really knows what as long as they've got a quote.

Last Friday, we had our Week Ahead meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Some of you were there, most of you weren't, but I'm talking to all of you now.

Bruno Gianelli and I were leading a discussion about whether or not the President should stop in Kansas on his way back from the West Coast, and I remarked that the Vice President is polling better than the President right now in the Plains states... and that if the President is re-elected, it's gonna be on the Vice President's coattails. That remark made its way to a White House reporter.

We're a group. [chuckles cheerlessly] We're a team. From the President and Leo on through, we're a team...We win together, we lose together, we celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them together.

And if you don't like this team... then, there's the door. It's great to be in the know. It's great to have the scoop, to have the skinny, to be able to go to a reporter and say, "I know something you don't know." And so the press becomes your constituents and you sell out the team.

So, an item will appear in the paper tomorrow, and it'll be embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the President. I'm not gonna have a witch hunt. I'm not gonna huff and puff. I'm not gonna take anyone's head off. I'm simply gonna say this: you're my guys. And I'm yours... and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.

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