by Thomas Wailgum

What’s A Guy Gotta Do to Get Pretexted Around Here?

Sep 22, 20063 mins

I was sincerely shocked when I heard the news about the now infamous scandal surrounding Hewlett-Packard and its board members. Spying allegations. Scandalous behavior. Boardroom leaks. HP resignations. Tech journalists being spied upon. And pretexting! Pretexting? (Like most of America, I hadn’t a clue what pretexting was, but you just knew it was a very bad thing.)

As HP CEO Mark Hurd is poised to clear things up at today’s press conference, I’m here to tell him, you and anyone who will listen that I’m angry. Here’s why.

As the sordid details of this story unraveled and the HP carnage piled up, what shocked and upset me most of all was that nobody at HP thought enough of yours truly to include me in any of this scandal — nobody leaked me confidential boardroom secrets; no one called my phone company posing as me so that they could trace my phone calls; and no shady character was following me around as I dropped my kids off at school or went to the grocery store. (I live in a sleepy New Hampshire town, so the excitement it would have generated in the community would have been off the charts. What a shame.)

When I let myself drift off a bit, I envisioned the way I would have bragged to my family and friends: “Yeah, I got pretexted by some security dudes who were working for HP.” Or, “Oh yeah, they tried to take over my PC, but I wouldn’t let them.” The corporate lawyers from our parent company IDG would have flocked to my side to protect me from the evils of the high-tech world. That would have been pretty cool. (And my dad would have been so proud. “Did ya hear my son got pretexted?” he would say, having no idea what that meant.)

But things soon took a turn for the worse. Even as more information came out that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had zero involvement, I was reluctant to give up hope. For example, when it was revealed that the third-party security agency allegedly hired by HP was trying to install spyware on a journalist’s computer, through the use of a bogus e-mail and HP tipster, I furiously pored over my saved e-mails from HP (I do receive quite a few) trying to find The One. I felt like Charlie in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” yearning for the Golden Ticket. Unlike Charlie, my quest was in vain. Not sweet at all.

I’ve done some controversial stories, with anonymous sources, so it’s not like I couldn’t handle this type of information. I mean, I could have leaked this kind of information to the public just as well or better than the next guy. At CIO magazine, we have the credibility as well as a great forum to do this. The more that I think about it, what were they thinking not including me?!

I’m sure the rage will subside, but until then, I can’t help but let my sarcastic side out, even if for one last time. Here goes: “Thank you HP board member George Keyworth for not including me in your leaks, thank you HP execs for not targeting me as a potential accomplice to the leaks, and thank you shady security agency for not coming after me and trying to infiltrate my laptop or access who I called during the last year. Thanks to you all for nothing.”