Washington, D.C. - Revelations flooded the (tender?) ears of members of a House subcommittee (and C-SPAN addicts) during a hearing to investigate Hewlett-Packard's spying activities. Not since Watergate have we witnessed covert operations like this. Speaking of which, if this is my generation's version, where's the tape with minutes missing? How come GenX always gets shorted?
Perhaps overtaken by events like the vastly important weather phenomenon in Viet Nam and police skirmishes in Utah, the publicly under-noticed committee ferreted out many shocking near-admissions, including HP top dogs' ignorance of words that can be looked up in your Webster. Or Wikipedia (Duh!), even Google for pity's sake. Wasn't there a computer or two around there?
The committee swam through emails and documents, the binder weighing in at 12 pounds, but the trail leading to the responsible person went cold and unreadable, as unreadable as the emails, primarily because word meanings were lost in the fog of spooking. Well, that's what they said! You think I'm making this stuff up?
Anyway, HP, trying to uncover a leaker (NOT a urinary incontinence issue) in their midst, had sicced a sort of brown-shirt "subcontractor" on the case. O'Zelis! was hired by the Board Chair some time in the past. The dates of any event could not be pinpointed - all dates have been muddled because HP, a leading maker of computers and printers, apparently only communicates in binary code, smoke signal, hand signs and Aldis lamp.
O'Zelis!, though, was familiar with technology, and used a "tracer" to try to find out who was leaking (I already told you, NOT a urinary incontinence issue). But when ask to explain why the word "tracer" didn't raise red flags, all the HP honchos went blank on it ("Couldn't tell ya, Congressman.") as if someone asked them to spell "onomatopoeia."
But that wasn't the only high school dog-pissed-on-my-homework trick. The parade of HP execs saying they didn't realize what "pretexting" meant ("OK. NOW, I know. Yeah. I know NOW.") left the House members collectively stone-faced and gap-mouthed for a full minute. By count.
Alrightie, then. Using my Aldis lamp to signal HP: "I call your house under the pretext that I'm your banker to get your mother's maiden name."
Questions: Is that a wrong thing to do? Is it illegal, maybe? Hmnh? Didn't you study for your SATs? And wasn't pretext there maybe 50 times? How about looking up words when you first encounter them, like your teacher told you? Where did you go to school?
Sitting in the hearing room (It's my job, I'm not addicted to politics. Really.) it would have been refreshing to see a dictionary anywhere in sight. How disconcerting is it to hear grand poobahs of a large firm say they don't know what words mean? Well, I was tempted to shout out, "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall," but feared it would attract attention to my Laugh-In rerun obsession. (Sock to ME?)
Not once did anyone raise a hand for a hall pass to visit the toilet. (You still think it was THAT kind of leak, don't you?)