HP's Spy Machine: Caught

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If you thought the government's spy apparatus is bad, think about Hewlett Packard. Here's a Fortune 500 company that mobilized private spies and undercover operatives, and it's now paying the price. Lots of top officials have quit in disgrace after the spying was revealed — including HP's general counsel, who quit today — and nearly a dozen HP executives testified today at a congressional hearing investigating the matter.

The HP executives used private security companies to gain confidential information on employees and other executives, cooked up a plan to plant covert operatives inside the offices of the Wall Street Journal, used pretext calls to access private phone records, etc. etc. It's enough to make the NSA blush. (Well, not really.)

What's important about this is it isn't just HP. Lots of companies rountinely do stuff like this — only HP got caught. And lots of former FBI and CIA officials eagerly take  high-paying jobs as corporate spies when they retire.