Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Silicon Valley’s Tom Perkins — Who Quit HP Board Over Phone Hacking — Backs News Corp. Execs in New Scandal

Back in 2006, one of the most dramatic moments of the “pretexting” scandal at Hewlett-Packard was when a very high-profile board member — legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins — quit in indignation over the company’s efforts to obtain the phone records of reporters.

“I resigned solely to protest the questionable ethics and the dubious legality of the chairman’s methods,” he said at the time about HP’s sneaky indiscretions, which included spying on a journalist from The Wall Street Journal.

But yesterday, in an interview with the New York Times, Perkins sounded a very different tone as a current independent board member of News Corp., which owns the Journal (and this site too) and, more importantly, is knee-deep in its own phone-hacking disaster.

Noting that the directors are “fully supportive of the top management,” Perkins added: “There’s no reason to believe top management was lying. That’s my very strong belief.”

Ironic? You bet, but apparently not to Perkins.

“This is not like the HP situation,” he told the Times. “The board supports top management.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik