Mass. Security Firm Part of Probe of HP

Hewlett-Packard is being investigated by the California attorney general.
Hewlett-Packard is being investigated by the California attorney general. (By Kimberly White -- Bloomberg News)
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2006

A small security company in suburban Boston has emerged as a subject in the investigation of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s boardroom spying scandal, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc. was hired as part of a Hewlett-Packard investigation of its board of directors to discover who was leaking information to the news media, the source said on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

Hewlett-Packard has come under fire for the methods used to identify the board member who was leaking information. Since the scandal surfaced last week, the director behind the leak has resigned and the board chairman has agreed to step down early next year. Another director resigned in May.

HP's investigation involved people posing as directors and journalists in order to gain access to private phone records. It also appeared to include surveillance of directors and review of videotapes to see if any directors were meeting with reporters, the source said.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer opened a criminal investigation of HP, which is based in Palo Alto, outside San Francisco. Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly is assisting Lockyer, Meredith Baumann, a spokeswoman for Reilly, said yesterday.

According to the Web site for Security Outsourcing Solutions, it provides support services to in-house security departments and evaluates and addresses corporate security risks.

It caters to small- and medium-size companies and those that do not have full-time security departments. The Web site says the company has a "global network of over 40 affiliated professional investigative firms."

The firm, founded in 1998, has 10 employees and reports annual sales of $990,000, according to Dun & Bradstreet Inc.

Calls to the number listed as the firm's Needham, Mass., office were not answered yesterday. Managing Director Ronald R. DeLia could not be reached for comment.

Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.

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