Letter: Phone Spy was common in British tabloid
British reporter Clive Goodman, convicted of having intercepted voicemails warned four years ago that illegal wiretapping was common in the tabloid News of the World and senior journalists adopted the practice, according to a letter published Tuesday by British lawmakers.
Goodman says in the letter, addressed to the director of human resources of the parent company of the Sunday newspaper, that wiretapping was done with “full knowledge and support” of the heads of the tabloid.
This statement is particularly damning because both News of the World and News International, parent of the tabloid, have long insisted that Goodman, who was fired, convicted and jailed for his role in the scandal was the only reporter involved in the interception of voice messages.
Goodman’s letter, addressed to Daniel Cloke and dated March 2, 2007, directly contradicts what sustained by the newspaper.
Goodman said he was acting with the backing of senior journalists, other employees of News of the World were also wiretapping and that “this practice was widely discussed during the daily editorial conference until the director alluded explicitly prohibited to it. “
The names of those involved have been labeled on the chart. The Guardian newspaper, which was the first to publish the letter, said it did the police, who are investigating the illegal acts of the newspaper.
The letter is part of a group of documents published by the Committee for Culture, Media and Sport of the lower house of Parliament.
Prior to publication, committee members said they probably would cite back to James Murdoch, the head of the European division of his father’s media empire, Rupert Murdoch, to answer questions. James Murdoch told parliament last month that he knew of phone spying using Flexispy at the newspaper.
His testimony was contradicted two days later by former editor of News of the World, Colin Myler and former company lawyer, Tom Crone.
Members of the Committee for Culture, Media and Sport said they have been unable to reconcile the contradictions between those statements. The committee chairman John Whittingdale said the panel “may want to ask more questions to James Murdoch.”
He said Myler and Crone will give evidence to lawmakers next month. The committee member Tom Watson said “it is likely to call back to Murdoch”.
“There seems to be some doubt as to whether James Murdoch misled the committee,” Watson said. “We have not reached a conclusion about that.”
Whittingdale said there are no plans to quote back to Rupert Murdoch, who gave evidence before the committee with his son on July 19.
Police are investigating allegations that News of the World illegally listened to messages of mobile phones and bribing the police in exchange for information about celebrities, politicians and crime victims.
News International said Tuesday he is “fully cooperating” with the police investigation.
“We recognize the seriousness of the reported to the police and Parliament materials and are committed to working constructively and openly with all the relevant authorities,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
News Corp. Rupert Murdoch closed the newspaper last 168 years.