The extent of Hewlett Packard’s spying on reporters seems to be dribbling out, day by day, with one unbelievable headline after another. Here’s this morning’s shocker: The New York Times says HP conducted feasibility studies on planting spies in the San Francisco news bureaus of CNET and the Wall Street Journal as part of an investigation of leaks from its board. Plans called for placing investigators posing as clerical employees or janitors in the offices of the two publications. Documents indicate that Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was told that investigators had plans for the “placement of agent in close proximity to the person of interest.” It is not known whether the plan was implemented. The story is based on an anonymous source who was briefed about the spying operation. CNET reported yesterday that its reporters who were spied upon by HP were briefed by government investigators about the HP case. Among the nine reporters targeted by HP was John Markoff of the New York Times.

Also, the Washington Post reported that HP CEO Mark Hurd personally approved a “sting” operation where private detectives would ure the reporter to open an e-mail attachment with software that would let HP see where the e-mail was forwarded, hoping it would pinpoint board member George Keyworth as the source. Keyworth has since resigned from the HP board.

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