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Wal-Mart Enforces Ethics With Ex CIA, FBI Operatives

Renowned to outsiders for its elbows-out business tactics, Wal-Mart is known internally for its bare-knuckled, no-expense-spared investigations of employees who break its ironclad ethics rules. It has assembled a team of former officials from the CIA, FBI, and Justice Department. Kenneth H. Senser, a former top official at the CIA and FBI who runs Wal-Mart's security department, has a staff of roughly 400. They investigate allegations of misconduct, guard Wal-Mart executives and prepare for potential crises of all kinds, from hurricanes to terrorist attacks.

Besides the highly publicized case of marketing executives Julie Roehm and Sean Womack, the team's elaborate investigations have led to the ouster of a high-profile board member who used company funds to buy hunting equipment, a manager for improper fraternization with a subordinate, and a computer technician who taped a reporter's telephone calls.

Yesterday, Roehm called Wal-Mart's investigation "a smear campaign" intended to destroy her reputation and--in a nod to Wal-Mart's investigative firepower--said the company had outmanned her with "ex-CIA. operatives" and "former FBI men."



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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