British newspaper The Telegraph Wednesday re-published portions of a 2009 BBC interview where Piers Morgan seems to have admitted having knowledge of phone hacking during his time working for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
“What about this nice middle-class boy, who would have to be dealing with, I mean essentially people who rake through bins for a living, people who tap people’s phones, people who take secret photographs, who do all that nasty down-in-the-gutter stuff?” the BBC interviewer asked Morgan.
“To be honest, let’s put that in perspective as well,” Morgan replied. “Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.”
“I’m quite happy to be parked in the corner of tabloid beast and to have to sit here defending all these things I used to get up to, and I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do.”
In a statement to Mediaite Wednesday, Morgan again denied any personal involvement with phone hacking.
“Millions of people heard these comments when I first made them in 2009 on one of the BBC’s longest -running radio shows, and none deduced that I was admitting to, or condoning illegal reporting activity,” he said. “As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.”
Paul Staines, who blogs under the name Guido Fawkes, told Forbes‘ Jeff Bercovici Tuesday that he had a audio where Morgan admitted to paying a third party to hack phones.
Listen to this audio from BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Disc, released June 7, 2009.