Pretextual agreement

In the midst of this HP leak investigation drama, with board members and lawyers pleading the fifth before Congress, comes the question of the...

In the midst of this HP leak investigation drama, with board members and lawyers pleading the fifth before Congress, comes the question of the word "pretexting." Have we added a word to the English language? Mirriam Webster doesn't list it, but does show pretaxing, pretyping, prattling, portering, predating and partaking - all of which HP may have done as well.

Pretexting, in the case of the HP, means when private detectives gathered people's personal information and then lied, pretending to be them to get access to their phone records. Isn't that called fraud? Misrepresentation? Is there a new crime on the books here in California called "pretexting?"

Maybe I'll ask Bill Lockyer, attorney general of the state, who's looking in to criminal charges against the ineffective HP super-secret spy team.

Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute hates the word pretexting and asks journalists to stop repeating it.

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