Murdoch-owned tabloid accused of espionage
Yesterday, The Guardian entered into a battle with Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper empire over allegations that it paid over $1.5 million to cover up allegations of hacking public figures’ cellphone messages: The Guardian report could not be independently verified. The newspaper cited an unnamed “senior source” at Scotland Yard as saying that staff members at ...
Yesterday, The Guardian entered into a battle with Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper empire over allegations that it paid over $1.5 million to cover up allegations of hacking public figures’ cellphone messages:
The Guardian report could not be independently verified. The newspaper cited an unnamed “senior source” at Scotland Yard as saying that staff members at News International, the Murdoch subsidiary that owns four major newspapers in Britain, including The Times of London, The Sunday Times and two tabloids, The News of the World and The Sun, had used private investigators to hack into “thousands” of cellphones to obtain confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemized telephone bills[…]
The Guardian article, citing those sources, said that the targets of the hacking included John Prescott, who was deputy to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and a cabinet member, Tessa Jowell, as well as lawmakers from all three of Britain’s major political parties.
Today, though, police quickly closed any further investigation, although they did not clear the newspaper’s name:
John Yates, the assistant police commissioner, told reporters that the report, in The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, contained no new information, and “I therefore consider that no further investigation is required.”
In response to The Guardian’s account, an official British information regulator said Thursday it had identified 31 reporters from two newspapers in Mr. Murdoch’s business empire — along with many other journalists from other news organizations owned by other companies — who had been found in an inquiry to have obtained personal data acquired unlawfully. The results of that inquiry were published in 2006, and the specific information concerning the two Murdoch newspapers was made known in 2008, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office said in a statement on its Web site.
Most relieved at the latest news (besides Murdoch’s company)? That would be Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who was under intense pressure this morning to fire Conservative communications guru, and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
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