House panel subpoenas data brokers for HP hearing

A House Subcommittee has issued five subpoenas to private investigators to appear at a Thursday hearing on the HP scandal.

A U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee probing the Hewlett-Packard (HP) pretexting case has issued more subpoenas to compel witness testimony at a Thursday hearing.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Energy and Commerce Committee issued subpoenas Wednesday for five people identified as "pretexters," data brokers who sometimes obtain access to confidential records under false pretenses.

HP has been embroiled in a scandal over its hiring of private investigators who engaged in possibly illegal pretexting to investigate news leaks from HP's board to reporters.

Served with subpoenas, according to the Subcommittee, are: Bryan Wagner, a private investigator from Colorado; Charles Kelly, of the CAS Agency; Cassandra Selvage of Eye in the Sky Investigations; Darren Brost, of Austin, Texas; and Valerie Preston from InSearchOf.

Wagner was identified in a Wednesday Wall Street Journal article as a suspect in the pretexting of phone records of HP directors, employees and journalists who cover the company. The Journal reported that Wagner told an investigator that he smashed his computer to pieces with a hammer, destroying data that was saved on it. The article also said that the destruction of the computer may hamper an investigation by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's office into possible illegal activity by people at HP or by the private investigators HP hired.

The five who were subpoenaed Wednesday have been added to a list of witnesses that also includes HP's Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd and former board chairman Patricia Dunn, who resigned last Friday because of the scandal.

While Dunn and Hurd have volunteered to appear, two other HP executives involved in the investigation were subpoenaed: senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker and Global Security Manager Anthony Gentilucci. Also subpoenaed are Ron DeLia, operator of Security Outsourcing Solutions, a private investigations firm, and Joe Depante, owner of Action Research Group. HP has acknowledged hiring both those firms in its leak investigation and that they used pretexting to track down personal phone records.

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