HP executives seemed to have stepped into quicksand through their overly aggressive attempt to clamp down on press leaks by members of HP's board. The problem of strategic decisions being leaked to the press is just that, a problem, as it is a sign of infighting on the HP board that can only be bad for HP and its stockholders. The fall-out from attempts to stop it, however, cannot have been predicted. There have been resignations, an unending string of bad press, and now congressional investigations that compared the incident to Watergate and Enron.
Is anyone else of the opinion that all this exaggerated fuss is like describing a light rain as a lashing hurricane? Come now, HP's "pretexting" scandal in the same league as WATERGATE and the ENRON ACCOUNTING SCANDAL? The Watergate scandal involved the US president using the tools of government to help defeat the candidate of the opposing party, which is the sort of thing that, supposedly, only occurs in countries with shaky traditions of democracy. Enron's collapse resulted in thousands of people losing their retirement savings virtually overnight while the perpetrators of the accounting "irregularities" that led to the company's downfall went off to cocktails at one of their many beach-side mansions.
Was HP acting in an unethical fashion and doing things that would damage its reputation? Most definitely. However, does it merit a congressional investigation? I think the spectacle at the US House of Representatives has less to do with government trying to excise incidences of corporate cancer so much as a means by which to give members of the House free air time in the run-up to November elections. Congressional critters months from re-election would investigate insurance irregularities at an adoption agency for homeless kittens if it would put their faces on CNN.
HP shouldn't have lied in order to gain access to phone records of people on HP's board or members of the press, but I rank this pretty low in the pantheon of irresponsible corporate behavior. Nobody's grandparents have to spend their golden years as greeters at Wal-Mart, and democracy continues in all its scandal-mongering glory.