The Anthony Pellicano wiretap scandal grinds on: Per a new report in the New York Times, attorney Terry Christiansen was happy to feed investor Kirk Kerkorian information obtained by Pellicano’s wiretaps on Kerkorian’s ex-wife, though no one has charged the investor with knowing about the taps. A lawyer for Christiansen terms the report “totally unfounded” and “a pack of lies”. (David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner, “Lawyer Gave Information to Kerkorian”, Jan. 10).
Not entirely unrelatedly, a front-page report in the Wall Street Journal last month takes note that “Hewlett-Packard Co.’s much-criticized campaign this year to trace boardroom leaks has made ‘pretexting’ a dirty word in corporate circles. But the H-P project was far from the first to rely on pretexting, which generally involves impersonating people to get their phone or financial records, a review of recent business history shows. The practice for years has been almost a commonplace tool, resorted to in efforts ranging from commercial litigation to divorce fights to the search for deadbeat borrowers.” (John R. Emshwiller, “Hewlett-Packard Was Far From First To Try ‘Pretexting'”, Dec. 16). Hmmm… which profession is it that regularly gets involved in commercial litigation, divorce fights, and the search for deadbeat borrowers? Former HP general counsel Ann Baskins resigned after her role in failing to prevent the pretexting scandal came to light. How much company would Baskins have if the legal profession suddenly got serious about ‘fessing up to the practice? (Paul McNamara, “A deep look at the role HP’s top lawyer played in spy scandal”, Network World, Dec. 21; Sue Reisinger, “Did Ann Baskins See No Evil at HP?”, Corporate Counsel, Dec. 18).