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Phone hacking: the questions key players need to answer

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Phone hacking: the questions key players need to answer

Post  Guest on Wed 13 Jul - 18:28

Phone hacking: the questions key players need to answer
What the inquiry should ask James Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, Tom Crone, Andy Coulson and other NI executives

James Robinson
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 July 2011 18.03 BST
Article history

News Corp's dramatic decision to abandon its bid for BSkyB is a victory for those who argued Rupert Murdoch should not be permitted to increase his power, particularly at a time when one of his flagship newspapers was under investigation for criminal behaviour. But the protagonists in the phone-hacking affair still have questions to answer.

James Murdoch

His mishandling of the phone-hacking affair led to the cancellation of the BSkyB offer but he was central to the attempt to hush up the affair. It was Murdoch who authorised the payment of £1m to phone-hacking victims in 2008 in exchange for their silence.

}He has since claimed he acted on the advice of lawyers and executives, and did not know the full details of what that money was to be used for. It was the News of the World's top lawyer, Tom Crone, and editor, Colin Myler, who asked for it. But is it credible that Murdoch signed a seven-figure cheque without asking detailed questions about where it was going? And if he didn't ask, then why not?

Rebekah Brooks

Brooks, now chief executive of News International, was editor of the News of the World when a phone belonging to the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked in 2002, on the orders of a journalist at the paper.

She has said it is "inconceivable" that she knew. Yet the paper ran a story referring to a voicemail left on Dowler's phone while she was editor. NI says she was on holiday at the time but other Murdoch editors insist she would have know what her paper was running. Brooks was in charge of a newsroom where journalists were acting illegally. Given that, how is it that she remains in charge of NI in the wake of calls from the prime minister and others for her to resign? That is a question she may be forced to answer if she appears before the culture, media & sport committee on Tuesday.

Tom Crone

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the head of legal affairs for the Sun and News of the World, Tom Crone, has left the company. Crone is believed to be telling friends that he did not know about the existence of emails News International passed to the Met last month, which allegedly show that Andy Coulson authorised payments to police.

Crone is understood to be claiming he was not told about the emails, which were recovered in 2007, until he was about to give evidence to a parliamentary select committee in 2009, and that he still hasn't seen them.

He subsequently told MPs he believed Clive Goodman was the only journalist at the paper who was involved in phone hacking. Why did he make that assertion given the evidence that has subsequently come to light? and how can a man who gave hundreds of explosive stories the green light, in legal terms, not know that a good number of them were obtained illegally?

Andy Coulson

Coulson resigned as News of the World editor in 2007 and stuck rigidly to the "rogue reporter" defence when his royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed. He maintains he knew nothing about phone hacking on his watch.

Coulson now faces questions about why he allegedly authorised a £1,000 payment to a member of the royal protection squad who had stolen a directory of phone numbers for members of the Windsor household.

That payment was detailed in the emails NI passed to Operation Weeting last month. How many other payments did Coulson authorise.

Did he also have knowledge about phone hacking at the paper by several of his most senior journalists? Those are questions he will probably have been asked by the Metropolitan police last week following his arrest.

Colin Myler

Myler told MPs two years ago he had carried out an inquiry that investigated 2,500 internal emails and found no evidence that hacking went beyond Clive Goodman. It is now thought those emails included evidence the paper had made payments to corrupt police officers.

Myler has remained silent since editing the final edition of the News of the World at the weekend, but he is expected to say he was not shown the emails he referred to in his evidence to MPs.

Myler is likely to say he relied on assurances from other who had sight of them that they contained no evidence of wrongdoing. Why didn't he examine the email himself before giving apparently misleading evidence to parliament?

Les Hinton

Murdoch's most trusted lieutenant appeared twice before MPs, in 2007 and 2009, to declare that Clive Goodman was the only journalist involved in hacking phones. According to News International, Hinton carried out the initial internal inquiry into phone hacking in the wake of Goodman's 2007 imprisonment, along with Myler and Crone.

As chairman of News International at the time, it was only right that he did so. So why was the inquiry so botched? Why did it fail to uncover any evidence that other journalists were hacking into phones, despite going through thousands of emails sent by and to Goodman from five News of the World journalists and executives, including Coulson himself?


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Re: Phone hacking: the questions key players need to answer

Post  Guest on Thu 14 Jul - 9:56


Brown told Commons he'd warned Clegg personally about Andy Coulson. Clegg tells #BBCR4Today that Brown didn't.
7 minutes ago via Twitter for iPad

better than a sitcom this

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Re: Phone hacking: the questions key players need to answer

Post  Guest on Thu 14 Jul - 10:21


RT@ AdamBienkov Did Nick Clegg just call Newscorp "Newscorpse"?>>He did indeed. Cleggian slip
25 minutes ago via web

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