MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block
Prosecutors in California have brought criminal charges today against five people involved in the Hewlett-Packard spy scandal, including the company's former chairwoman, Patricia Dunn. She spearheaded the investigation of boardroom leaks to the news media, but Dunn says she did not know investigators were using illegal techniques. Prosecutors say HP's investigation crossed the line when the contractors secretly obtained telephone records of board members and reporters.
NPR's Scott Horsley has been following this story and he joins us now. Scott, who else besides Patricia Dunn in this case?
SCOTT HORSLEY: Melissa, prosecutors have targeted not only Dunn, who ordered the probe into the boardroom newsleaks, but also a former HP lawyer, Kevin Hunsaker, who oversaw the investigation, and the Boston area private detective who ran it. Prosecutors also filed charges today against two of the contractors who are thought to have actually carried out the spying.
BLOCK: And the spying was quite involved. Tell us what happened.
HORSLEY: It was. In order to try to find out who on the HP board of directors was leaking to the news media, detectives followed people. They sent a reporter an email with a hidden tracking feature. They even dug through somebody's trash. But where the HP spies apparently ran afoul of the law pretexting, or pretending to be board members and reporters in order to get their personal phone records from the telephone company.
California's attorney general, Bill Lockyear, has said ever since the scandal broke almost a month ago that he would go after not only the people who did the pretexting, but those who ordered it as well, assuming they knew what they were asking for.
BLOCK: Yeah, and Patrica Dunn, who resigned as chairwoman twelve days ago, says that she did not know that pretexting was illegal.
HORSLEY: That's right, Dunn says that she knew as far back as the spring of last year that detectives were seeking phone records, but she insists she only began to understand what pretexting was this past summer. And she told the congressional committee investigating this last week that she still doesn't know whether pretexting is legal. Dunn says she got assurances throughout the probe that the spy techniques were legal. Some of those assurances came from the former HP ethics lawyer, Kevin Hunsaker, who's now facing criminal charges himself.
BLOCK: And he refused to testify last week before a congressional panel that's investigating this case, is that right?
HORSLEY: He did. So did Ron Delia(ph), the Boston area detective who ran the leak probe, and several of the contractors who are thought to have played a role. Patricia Dunn did testify, and so did HP's CEO, Mark Hurd. Now, Mr. Hurd's not facing criminal charges. He has said that while he got a written report on the spying tactics used, he didn't read it. Obviously, prosecutors don't think he played enough of a role to be criminally culpable.
That's good for HP's shareholders, who have enjoyed kind of a turnaround under Mark Hurd's leadership. And HP's stock actually jumped today about one and a half percent.
BLOCK: Scott, how serious are these charges that were filed today?
HORSLEY: Well, they're felony charges with a maximum sentence of three years each. However, Patricia Dunn may have more serious concerns. She's a cancer survivor and we learned today she's going back to the hospital on Friday to undergo chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer.
BLOCK: Okay. NPR's Scott Horsley. Thanks very much.
HORSLEY: My pleasure.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.