Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) conducted feasibility studies on placing spies in news bureaus of two publications as part of an investigation into leaks from its board, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Hewlett-Packard could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Times cited an individual briefed on the company's review of the operation in its report.

It is not clear whether the plan described in the documents, which were read to a reporter, was ever acted upon, The Times said.

The newspaper said the feasibility studies, referred to in a February 2 draft report for a briefing of senior management, were said to have included the possibility of placing investigators acting as clerical employees or cleaning crews in the San Francisco offices of technology news Web site CNET and The Wall Street Journal.

HP is under investigation by U.S. federal prosecutors and the California attorney general over the company's potentially illegal tactics in obtaining phone records in a bid to end boardroom leaks to the media.