Reporter claimed News Corp. phone hacking was ‘widely discussed’ at meetings

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 10:23 EDT
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A letter sent to top News Corporation officials in 2007 (PDF), published Tuesday by the British Parliament, accuses high ranking executives and other journalists at the now-defunct News of the World of actively discussing phone hacking efforts during editorial meetings, and calls into question the testimony of Rupert and James Murdoch.

Written by former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman in response to a formal termination notice signed by Les Hinton, the former CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, it claims the sacked reporter did nothing that was not explicitly authorized by executives and other senior journalists at the paper.

He claims the snooping took place “with the full knowledge and support of” News Corp. officials and was even “widely discussed’ in meetings until explicit reference to their activities was banned by former editor Andy Coulson. Goodman was the first News of the World reporter to be arrested for intercepting phone messages. Coulson was later hired as Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman.

The letter also alleges that Coulson offered to let Goodman keep his job if he didn’t testify against them in court.

The document may also affect Les Hinton, the former chairman of News International who News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch picked to lead The Wall Street Journal. Hinton told Parliament in 2009 that “there had never been any evidence delivered to me that suggested the conduct had spread beyond one journalist.” That would seem to be contradicted by Goodman’s letter, which shows Hinton as a recipient.

“If others had evidence that wrongdoing went further, I was not told about it,” Hinton wrote in his July resignation letter addressed to his long-time boss.

The document’s revelation may ultimately trigger the recall of Hinton, along with James and Rupert Murdoch, for fresh testimony before Parliament. Both the CEO and his son, who leads News International, said they had no knowledge of wrongdoing at the company.

“Clive Goodman’s letter is the most significant piece of evidence that has been revealed so far,” wrote Member of Parliament Tom Watson, in another letter published Tuesday. “It completely removes News International’s defence. This is one of the largest cover-ups I have seen in my lifetime.”

(H/T: The Guardian)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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