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Stranger Than Fiction

Just when you thought the Hewlett Packard scandal was beginning to read like a dime-store fiction novel, now it's starting to take on some Oscar-winning twists. As one privacy watchdog group's deputy director put it, "If you'd laid this out as a science fiction story, it'd be hard to believe it's true." The Washington Post got a hold of some more internal HP e-mails. And what do they reveal?

Internal e-mails show senior HP employees who were given the task of identifying anonymous news sources concocted a fictitious, high-level HP tipster who sent bogus information to a San Francisco reporter in an attempt to trick her into revealing her sources.

The e-mail sting operation, which was part of a wide-ranging two-part HP investigation that began in March 2005 and ended in May 2006, is the latest in a series of deceptive and possibly illegal tactics that reveal the lengths to which HP went to spy on people inside and outside the company to protect its image and secrets.

Do read the article, and the Wall Street Journal's story -- according to "a person familiar with the H-P probe" a WSJ reporter was followed by HP investigators for several months earlier this year -- it all sounds more like a Tom Clancy novel than actual reality.
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