The furor at Hewlett-Packard, the personal computer and printer company, began unfolding when Thomas Perkins, a pioneer venture capitalist, quit the board after an investigation pointed to a friend on the board as a source of the leaks.
Perkins’ pique turned to outrage when he learned that investigators working for the company had posed as the directors themselves, armed with at least part of their Social Security numbers — a method commonly used by hackers and identity thieves — to obtain their personal phone and e-mail records.
Those tactics are now the focus of a criminal investigation by the California attorney general — and the heart of a whodunit.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer subpoenaed some HP officials Wednesday. He refused to say whether criminal charges would be brought against HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, other directors or the private investigators HP hired. Lockyer said the state could also charge HP with civil violations.