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Cash or Credit? Spying Expenses Add Up at HP

September 30, 2006|Jim Puzzanghera | Times Staff Writer

Nobody said corporate snooping came cheap.

According to documents released by Congress, Hewlett-Packard Co. was billed $325,641.65 by the lead investigator trying to track down boardroom leaks in a corporate spying scandal that has engulfed the Palo Alto technology company.

The bill from Ronald DeLia, who runs Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc. from his home in Needham, Mass., was among thousands of documents HP submitted to Congress.

Included in the breakdown:

* $83,597.42 for surveillance of board members and journalists in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver, including a sting operation against a CNet reporter and "trash re-con of all areas."

* $44,875 to "locate, identify, analyze, chart and catalog" telephone records.

* $37,535 to find, review and analyze more than 10,000 articles by reporters who were suspected of receiving leaks.

* $58,529.98 for DeLia's management of the case, including meetings with legal staff who advised that impersonating people to obtain private phone records was OK.

HP, however, did get a frequent user discount: DeLia noted at the bottom of the bill that he had cut his normal $125 hourly rate to $65 an hour for the case.

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