That something is arguably the most famous leak investigation since Watergate, and because of it Pattie Dunn, who was chairman of the HP board of directors, now faces criminal charges, and could go to jail.
As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, the charges stem from the use of something called pretexting, where phone records are retrieved by subterfuge and pretense – where someone calls the phone company and pretends to be someone else in order to obtain the records.
The tactic was apparently used to retrieve the phone records not only of HP board members but of reporters as well. Social security numbers were also obtained, board members and journalists were followed, and there was even discussion of planting spies in newsrooms.
On Thursday, Pattie Dunn was booked on four felony counts in connection with the investigation.
Pattie Dunn, 53, is a former business CEO who just two weeks ago was inducted into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame. She talked to 60 Minutes about what happened at HP only hours after the criminal charges against her were announced.
"Maybe someone will come in here while we're talking and put handcuffs on me. I don't know," Dunn tells Stahl.
"Let me ask you the obvious question that I think every lawyer who's watching this is asking himself or herself. Why are you giving us an interview right after you've been indicted? It's pretty unusual," Stahl asks.
"So my lawyer tells me," Dunn replies, laughing.
But her lawyer did approve of the interview. "I have a story to tell. I'm innocent. I need people to understand what happened. And I'm glad to have the chance to do it," Dunn says.
Her story involves the investigation into who from the board was leaking confidential information to the press, about corporate strategy, HP's interest in buying another tech company, even deliberations over who they would hire as CEO.
"The idea that the most sensitive discussions of the board would end up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal was destructive. It destroyed the trust between people and if they don't trust each other," Dunn says, "they can't function as a board."
Dunn says a majority of the board asked her to initiate a leak inquiry, which soon ran amok and has made her the public face of one of corporate America's biggest scandals.
She accepts no responsibility, admits no wrong. At the heart of the case is: what did Pattie Dunn know about the pretexting, or the use of pretenses to get phone records. Evidence includes a conference call, apparently with Dunn, during which pretexting was allegedly discussed, and notes of an interview with Dunn about the case.
"Quote, 'Dunn thinks it is probable that she was told in some circumstances they may need to use false pretenses,'" Stahl states.
"I refute those notes. I was never given a chance to review them," Dunn says. "This is not a deposition; this was not recorded. If it's going to be used as evidence against me, somebody needs to take my deposition."
And perhaps the most serious charge against her involves passing along personal information to the investigators to enable the pretexting.
"The complaint specifically mentions that you gave the investigators the home phone numbers of your fellow board members," Stahl says.
"I don't remember giving the investigators the home phone numbers of my fellow board members. But those are not hard to get within HP. They're public information within the board infrastructure," Dunn says.