Cisco VP Threatens To Stalk Memo Leaker... Driving More Attention Than Original Memo

from the yeah,-not-smart dept

Internal memos from large companies leak all the time. It happens. Companies don't like it, but most learn to deal with it. Sometimes, they go a bit nuts. For example, you may remember the spying scandal at HP, in which the board tried to stop leaks by spying on phone records and other info, including trying to spy on various journalists. Apparently some companies just go a bit nutty when they think they have someone to track down, where execs suddenly think they can act like they're in some sort of spy movie. Apparently this is now happening at Cisco as well. A few weeks ago, Network World reported on Cal State's decision to use Alcatel-Lucent instead of Cisco, claiming that it saved the university $100 million. As is fairly typical at companies when such bad news is in the press, an internal memo was sent around on how to respond to questions about this story. And... as is fairly typical at such companies, the internal memo leaked to bloggers who posted it. The memo itself is fairly tame and about what you'd expect given the situation.

But... then, apparently, a VP at Cisco, Mike Quinn, got upset about the leak... and proceeded to send out an angry email telling the leaker to resign, and saying if he doesn't resign, that "finding you is now my hobby." And, of course, that new letter leaked to the same sources:
This is an open response to the person(s) that sent our internal confidential memo regarding the RFP response noted in the Subject line. I want to advise you that no matter the color of your badge (blue or red), the years of service and or your CPC rating you have decided to violate the Code of Business Conduct. The company in response to a number of requests to share internally what our RFP contained once again is insulted by the lack of respect for the business and "family" internal to Cisco. The person or persons whom felt it was cool or correct to share this internal memo should now have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and admit that they did this, then resign.

I want you to remember that Cisco puts the groceries on your table every two weeks, not Brad Reese or other Slander Sheet Journalists. That you disrespected everyone else at Cisco. Now I know you do not have it in you to stand up and admit what you did, so I will now make you my "hobby." Ask around you will find out that I like to work on my hobbies.

Mike Quinn Vice President - Services Cisco Systems
And, if that doesn't sound quite threatening enough, people quickly pointed out that in the distant past, Quinn worked for the CIA.

The amazing thing about all of this is that all it's done is call much more attention to the whole thing. If they'd just let that initial leak go, it would have been mostly forgotten in a few days and people would have moved on. But now because someone went on a power trip, it's right back in the news again.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 6:59am

    What good is power if you can't use it to intimidate and destroy everyone who has ever even had a fleeting thought of slighting you?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    That's nice

    Ignatious J. Riley had a hobby too. I suspect his will prove more productive.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    I wonder if people can use that "family" line the next time layoffs roll around.

     

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    Michael, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:53am

    New hobby

    "finding you is now my hobby."

    What was his old hobby? Is moving on to a new hobby going to put the people supporting his old hobby out of business? He is a hobby pirate! This is going to cost us lost hobby sales, and we all know that these lost sales only hurt the little guy - like the poor guy that works the register at the hobby shop.

    We need legislation to prevent this kind of thing.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Quinn... Quinn....

    I'm stalking you. - Ghost Nappa

     

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    Michael, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Groceries

    "I want you to remember that Cisco puts the groceries on your table every two weeks"

    My company sucks! I have to pick them up myself or call Pea Pod.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    I had not even heard about this until now. Why does this VP care so much? We all know Cisco is expensive and so a leaked RFP stating as much is no surprise. Reading this just makes Mike Quinn seem petty and I hope HR has a talk to him about creating an unsafe workplace. I imagine his message would have gotten someone lower than a VP fired pretty quickly.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 9:25am

      Re:

      I suspect that his reaction to this gives us a solid clue as to why he's a former CIA guy.

       

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      Berenerd (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 9:28am

      Re:

      VP of operations at my former company got fired with no pension for even threatening to fire an underling in a company wide email like that. Apparently his position and 15 years of service can be wiped away with a small temper tantrum.

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re:

        > VP of operations at my former company
        > got fired with no pension for even
        > threatening to fire an underling in
        > a company wide email like that.

        Why is threatening to fire someone such a no-no?

        Is this some kind of half-assed self-esteem issue or something?

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 11:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It might be less about the actual threat of firing and more about how the threat was delivered.

           

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          Gothenem (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's called workplace harrassment, and many companies take that very seriously. In addition, there could be severe laws against that in your state.

           

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            btr1701 (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > It's called workplace harrassment

            How in the hell has explaining to an employee the consequences for failing to do his/her job become 'harassment'?

            > In addition, there could be severe laws
            > against that in your state

            Please cite me a state law which makes it a crime to tell an employee you're going to fire them if they don't get with the program.

             

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              John Fenderson (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 4:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              How in the hell has explaining to an employee the consequences for failing to do his/her job become 'harassment'?


              You could argue that it becomes harassment when it is done in a way that amounts to public humiliation -- such as in the company-wide email that Berenerd mentioned as part of the story.

               

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    Applesauce, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Intelligence

    A Former operations officer with the CIA.

    I have to ask if this is representative of the level of intelligence in the Intelligence community. Do they no nothing about the Streisand effect?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 8:08am

      Re: Intelligence

      The problem is that that community has secrecy baked into their bones, and leakers are enemies of the state.

       

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      The Real Michael, Nov 10th, 2012 @ 7:55am

      Re: Intelligence

      Perhaps Cisco has something to hide. If you've ever seen their commercials, it looks as they're helping to empower and expand a police/surveillance state.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXVNr0H6U1Y

      There's nothing good about any of this.

      In my opinion, data-hoarding companies such as Cisco, IBM and others present a major threat to our rights and privacy. IBM already has proven this with their infamous Hollerith machines which were used in Nazi concentration camps to number and identify Jews. They are also involved in developing RDIF technology which would be used to track people like cattle.

       

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Unionize now!

    It's one of the few effective measures against corporate execs rabid with power. -- Yes, of course you then get other problems like union officials going crazy with power. Just take power-mad for granted -- from janitor on up -- and try to set all with power against others: it's called checks and balances, and that's why tri-part gov't in the US Constitution.

    Anyhoo, point is that an individual has no chance up against a corporate entity; they always have elements specifically tasked with vengeance. I think Mike finds this newsworthy because his view of corporations is always of fair-handed and reasonable, so he's constantly surprised at instances of reality.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Looks like he should have sent the memo out in picture format with a few pixels slightly shifted in each one. Unnoticeable to the eye and very easy to find if you have the orig locations.

    I would have put it on a It's a trap demotivational poster. :P

     

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      Dirkmaster (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      You want him to send the picture out as a HAM image? (Hold And Modify, an old Amiga reference)

      Sorry, I'll just go back to sitting quietly here in the corner.

       

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    Ian, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    I don't think making people forget about the leak was what this VP was focused on. Instead it was to set a precedent the next time an employee is about to leak info to the press.

     

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 9:11am

      Re:

      ..which failed, considering the threat itself was leaked.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 9:28am

      Re:

      I think this was just rage, that there was no deep plan involved. Regardless, this is the sort of reaction that, in my experience, indicates weakness and impotence and would make me less fearful of repercussions.

       

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    Travis, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Not on the list of best employers to work for...

    With that kind of attitude from the management I would never want to work for Cisco. Yes, their business might put food on the employee's tables, but also - without their employees they don't have a business for very long.

    There had to have been a much better way to handle this than all this blustering and threatening.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re: Not on the list of best employers to work for...

      I'm no fan of Cisco, but every company of any size has at least one exec that shouldn't be there. I think it's a mistake to tar the whole company for it unless it's not an isolated case.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 5:44pm

        Re: Re: Not on the list of best employers to work for...

        If there is only one, then he'll either issue an apology or be canned.

        If he's not canned and not forced to apologize, then his behaviour is being condoned by others, which means that there is more than one exec who shouldn't be there, at which point it's not a mistake to tar the whole company for it.

         

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    Donglebert the Unintelligible, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Needless to say

    Airfix must be pissed

     

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    alldone, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Yeah it's a great idea to hire...

    Former CIA goons and not expect them to eventually break past the barrier of 'normal' they portray to fit into society.

    This nutjob will cause far more problems for Cisco, and their 'family' than any whistle-blower could.

    What's next for the offenders Quinn? waterboar....er rather company interrogation?

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    > The person or persons whom felt it
    > was cool or correct to share

    > That you disrespected everyone else at Cisco.

    Use of improper pronouns, sentence fragments, informal slang in a corporate-wide message... and this is a vice president at Cisco?

    Sounds more like the way a (below-average) high school kid would write.

     

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    Chris Brand (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    interesting use of language

    'is insulted by the lack of respect for the business and "family"' sounds like a line from a Godfather movie to me. I wonder what "hobby" is mafia-speak for...

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    In other news

    Cisco's proxy servers crashed when an unprecedented amount of requests for Monster.com were initiated. Cisco called Alcatel-Lucent for a cost effective solution.

    Back to you chuck...

     

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    Laroquod (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

    Quinn's next move will be to create slightly differently worded variations of each internal memo for different departments, hoping to narrow down where to search for the leaker. Much manpower and resources will be pointlessly expended on this.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 10th, 2012 @ 1:15am

    Its not like Cisco would lie to law enforcement and have people detained and arrested to give themselves leverage in these sorts of... oh wait...

     

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    tqk (profile), Nov 10th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    After all that I've read on this story, I suspect Mike Quinn is the original leaker trying to deflect suspicion from himself. Old CIA tactic; baffle 'em with BS. Good on ya, Quinn.

    Nobody with half a brain could possibly believe this letter is an honest reaction, even from a board member.

     

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    Not VP material, Nov 11th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Not VP material

    I invest in Cisco. Is this how they treat their employees? Do they spend more time hunting this person down than working on their new products? This is not how a VP in a major company acts (publicly at least).

     

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    Steve, Mar 10th, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    What is the use of power if you can't use it for your own good. Thats ridiculous. No way anybody would be talking about that.

    Howard

     

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