During Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate, candidate and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina proudly recalled getting a phone call from the National Security Agency shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“They needed help,” she said. “I gave them help.”
What kind of help did HP provide? Shipments of computer equipment that Fiorina quickly routed to the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, which was apparently needed to beef up the agency’s controversial surveillance operations after the terrorist attacks. According to a September Yahoo! News report, former NSA director Michael Hayden has confirmed the servers were used for Stellar Wind, part of the agency’s post-9/11 efforts to monitor email, phone calls, and other communications.
Shortly after Fiorina’s debate statement, which was part of a push for greater private-sector involvement in the fight on terrorism, Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin posted a Tweet stating that HP indirectly sold millions of dollars in equipment to Iran under Fiorina’s watch. The company has always maintained that the sales to Iran took place without HP’s knowledge and were not illegal, despite international sanctions against Iran, since they went through several intermediaries, and that HP ended its relationship with a Dubai company involved in the shipments when it learned of the transactions.