Last week, the New York Times magazine published an explosive article
about the phone-hacking exploits at the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid News Of The World
under the then-editorship of Andy Coulson, now the the Government's chief of communications
. Following the NYT's investigation, questions about the "unhealthy" relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the press
(particularly Murdoch's News International
, which also includes The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times), and further claims that an independent inquiry was abandoned so as not to upset the Metropolitan Police
, assistant Met Commissioner John Yates was questioned
[video; 4 mins] on Tuesday by the Home Affairs select committee. Following an emergency debate
in Parliament today, which concerned the fact that MPs of all parties may have had their phones hacked (and therefore had their Parliamentary Privilege
breached), the Standards and Privileges Committee
, the most powerful committee in Parliament, is to open an inquiry which will be able to compel witnesses to give evidence
. Meanwhile, former News of the World reporters are coming out the woodwork, claiming that hacking at the paper was "rife"
, and the pressure is on Coulson to resign his £140,000 job at No. 10, with a poll
[pdf] which says 52% of the public says he should go.
Back in 2007, Clive Goodman, the News of the World's royal correspondent, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed by the paper, were jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of members of the royal family
, and the newspaper's then-editor, Andy Coulson, resigned, though he denied knowledge of the hacking. Two years after Coulson was appointed as the Conservative Party's communications chief in summer of 2007
, the Guardian published claims the the phone hacking at the News Of The World also covered MPs, actors, and sports stars
. The Guardian also claimed that private investigators working for the News of the World also "gain[ed] unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and intemised phone bills", and alleged that News International, the paper's parent company, paid out more than £1m to keep it all hushed up
In February of this year, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee issued a report
which concluded that the News of the World's crimes "went to the heart of the British establishment, in which police, [the] military, royals and government minister were hacked on a near-industrial scale"
, and noted the "collective amnesia" and "deliberate obfuscation of News of the World executives who gave evidence to them.
Two months later, Nick Davies, in the Guardian, wrote that despte the police having siezed material from Goodman and Mulcaire that contained the names of 4000 potential hacking victims
, the Met failed to pass this evidence on to the Crown Prosecution Service, preferring to focus on a small number of cases – a strategy "omitted from all public statements, including evidence made to the House of Commons media select committee".
Full coverage – blogs, live updates, video, etc. – from the Guardian here
A News of the World Timeline, from 1969, when the paper was bought by Murdocuh, until now, from the NYT here
This story previously on MeFi