NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. worker fired last month for intercepting a reporter’s phone calls says he was part of a larger, sophisticated surveillance operation that included snooping not only on employees, but also on critics, stockholders and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., The Wall Street Journal reported.
As part of the surveillance, the retailer last year had a long-haired employee infiltrate an anti-Wal-Mart group to determine if it planned protests at the company’s annual meeting, according to Bruce Gabbard, the fired security worker, the Journal said.
The company also deployed cutting-edge monitoring systems made by a supplier to the Defense Department that allowed it to capture and record the actions of anyone connected to its global computer network, the Journal said.
The company fired Gabbard, a 19-year employee, last month for unauthorized recording of calls to and from a New York Times reporter and for intercepting pager messages. Wal-Mart conducted an internal investigation of Gabbard and his group’s activities, fired his supervisor and demoted a vice president over the group.