HP Scandal: Is It Clear Sailing?

California's attorney general, Bill Lockyer, says criminal indictments of Hewlett-Packard officials could come any day now in the wake of the spying scandal first disclosed by NEWSWEEK. But a source close to various state and federal investigations suggests Lockyer may be bluffing. That source, who requested anonymity because the inquiries are ongoing, says several HP officials, whom he declined to name, have "lawyered up." Their silence is at odds with HP's stated intention to cooperate with government inquiries into HP's spying on its own board of directors to find out who was leaking info to the press. By saying he already has enough evidence to indict officials--and perhaps the company itself--Lockyer may be trying to pressure HP officials into talking. An HP spokesman decline to comment.

For his part Tom Perkins--the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former HP director who agitated to bring the boardroom furor to public light--seems content to retreat to the sidelines. Reached aboard his new megayacht near Minorca in the Mediterranean, he told NEWSWEEK press reports that he wanted to return to the board were wrong. And he says he has no interest in pursuing any possible lawsuits against HP for hacking his personal phone records or for any compensation he lost by resigning in May. "My No. 1 thing was to get Pattie [Dunn] out as chairman, and I got that," he says. "So I'm happy." For the moment, he may be the only one in the whole mess who can say that.