House Panel Accuses Yahoo Counsel of Lying in Testimony on Chinese Journalists's Arrest
WASHINGTON – A Yahoo Inc. executive was accused Tuesday of giving false testimony to Congress last year regarding the company's role in the arrest of a Chinese journalist.
A House committee wants Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and general counsel Michael Callahan to clarify at a Nov. 6 hearing the allegedly untruthful testimony Callahan gave Congress in February 2006.
"We want to clarify how that happened, and to hold the company to account for its actions both before and after its testimony proved untrue," Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a press release. "And we want to examine what steps the company has taken since then to protect the privacy rights of its users in China."
San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation released documents in late July showing that the Beijing State Security Bureau had written Yahoo saying it wanted evidence about journalist Shi Tao, who was suspected of "illegally providing of state secrets to foreign entities," the committee said.
Shi was arrested at his home after posting material about a government crackdown on media and democracy activists on an overseas Web site. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005.
The case has raised questions about whether Internet companies should cooperate with governments that deny freedom of speech and frequently crack down on journalists.
Callahan told lawmakers at that 2006 hearing that his company had no information "about the nature of the investigation" into Shi, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said in the same statement.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo did not immediately comment on the matter.