IT Security Guy Connected to Leaking, Spying Activities? Take a Pass
Caught up in the high profile case of Anthony Pellicano -- the detective on trial for racketeering and wiretapping in a case that involves lots of big names in Hollywood -- is the manager of IT security for Conde Nast publications. How exactly did that guy get his job?
Caught up in the high profile case of Anthony Pellicano -- the detective on trial for racketeering and wiretapping in a case that involves lots of big names in Hollywood -- is the manager of IT security for Conde Nast publications. How exactly did that guy get his job?The Pellicano case involves a private detective who prosecutors accuse of wiretapping and threatening enemies of the rich and famous. Testifying for the prosecution is Wayne Reynolds, a former employee of Pellicano, who currently works at Conde Nast as its manager of IT security.
That's a nice job to have but someone at Conde Nast didn't do much background checking. On the stand, Reynolds made all sorts of confessions. Allyson Hope Weiner, in the Huffington Post, writes that Reynolds "articulately testified about seeing Mr. Pellicano put wiretapping equipment in the trunk of the detective's car. He also recalled overhearing conversations between Mr. Pellicano and former phone company employee, Ray Turner, where Mr. Pellicano spoke in a sort of code. Mr. Reynolds testified that he heard Mr. Pellicano call Mr. Turner and tell him, "that girl you have up, take her down." And on another occasion, Mr. Reynolds also heard Mr. Pellicano talking to Mr. Turner, inquiring "how's our girlfriend doing?" Mr. Reynolds told the jury that he understood that Mr. Pellicano was "talking about wiretapping."
According to the New York Times, "Reynolds was first questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the Los Angeles offices of Condï¿¼ Nast early in 2003."
Writer David Carr asks a kind of obvious question: "Now, Mr. Reynolds may be a whiz with technology -- he testified with a great deal of specificity about the black boxes used to record intercepted calls -- but his testimony raised a troubling question: why would Condï¿¼ Nast hire him?"
Granted maybe when Reynolds was hired no one at Conde Nast -- a huge organization -- could have known the nature of Reynolds work for Pellicano. But they know now.
On Gawker, Ryan Tate asks the second most obvious question: "The guy who runs tech security for Condï¿¼ Nast has admitted lying to the FBI and lending his services to private detective Anthony Pellicano even though he knew Pellicano was tapping people's phones. He's also been accused, in the course of Pellicano's racketeering and wiretap trial, of leaking a pre-publication copy of Vanity Fair that Pellicano mysteriously obtained, and of bragging about bugging the office of his Condï¿¼ Nast supervisor. So why does he still have a job?"
Maybe the answer is that in a large, bloated organization like Conde Nast these kind of things can't be dealt with quickly or neatly. In a smaller business, transparency is easier to attain and a smaller organization has the flexibility and nimbleness to make quick decisions.
But the lessons here go beyond the need to move decisively in hiring and firing. If Reynolds could do that stuff in a huge company like Conde Nast, imagine the damage your IT guy could do in your smaller business -- where there aren't the same resources to weather a disaster. Put the time and effort into checking your IT guys out. Each one could mean the difference between life and death for your company.
Join InformationWeek’s Lorna Garey and Mike Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, an engineering and research firm focused on maximizing technology investments, to discuss the right way to go digital.