Other British Papers May Soon Be Implicated In Phone Hacking Scandal


Britain’s phone hacking scandal isn’t likely to go away any time soon, as allegations begin to surface that other news outlets took part in the practice as well.On Wednesday Prime Minister David Cameron broadened the scope of a public inquiry into the hackings to include broadcasters and social media networks, as well as other police forces outside of Scotland Yard. “The inquiry should look not just at the press but other media organisations, including broadcasters and social media, if there is any evidence that they have been involved in criminal activities,” Cameron said. In the special session of Parliament Wednesday Cameron said it would be naive to think Murdoch’s papers were the only ones to use phone hacking to get stories.

And there have been a number of accusations to that end:

Actor Hugh Grant, who is suing Scotland Yards for release of evidence that details who else was hacked, referenced News Of The World and “other newspapers” that may be implicated in his lawsuit. Grant had secretly recorded former NOTW editor Paul McMullan, who told him: “It wasn’t just The News of the World, it was all the tabloids.”

The New York Times reports that five anonymous journalists for The People, a tabloid under Trinity Mirror, said the paper regularly engaged in phone hacking in the 1990s and early 2000s. Neil Wallis, who was arrested for alleged phone hacking when he was editor of News Of The World, left The People in 2003.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has accused the News Corp’s The Sunday Times and The Sun of hacking into his phone, bank, and medical records over a period of ten years.

Actor Jude Law recently filed a lawsuit against The Sun, in addition to a previous NOTW lawsuit, alleging that The Sun hacked into his phone. The Sun called the suit “a deeply cynical and deliberately mischievous attempt to draw the Sun into the phone-hacking issue.”

If there is evidence that The Sun took part in the hacking, it may come out thanks to the hacking collective LulzSec. LulzSec announced this week that it had acquired 4GB of e-mails from the paper, and though there were some reports that the group would not release the e-mails to avoid jeopardizing legal proceedings, on Thursday LulzSec tweeted: “We’re currently working with certain media outlets who have been granted exclusive access to some of the News of the World emails we have.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: World Players: Who’s Who In The News Of The World Scandal]

There may also be more revelations about News Corp itself relatively soon. News Corp announced Wednesday that it would immediately end “any arrangement to pay the legal fees of Glenn Mulcaire,” the private investigator who in 2007 pleaded guilty to phone hacking on behalf of the News Of The World tabloid. News Corp also said it would lift part of a confidentiality agreement on its law firm Harbottle & Lewis so it could give testimony and evidence to Parliament, the New York Times reports.

Mulcaire had refused to speak to the press in the four years since his release from prison, but gave a statement shortly after News Corp’s announcement. “As you can appreciate, we are in the middle of a number of inquiries at the moment,” he said. “It’s a very fluid and developing situation. Like I said, the developments have been different from day to day, and I have no further comment to make at this stage. However, this may change.”

In Parliamentary hearings Tuesday, James Murdoch said that he was “very surprised” to learn that the company had “made certain contributions to legal fees” for Goodman and Mulcaire.

The move to end the payments came on the same day a House of Commons report accused News International, a subsidiary of News Corp that publishes its British newspapers, of “deliberately trying to thwart” initial investigations into the allegations.

Mulcaire served six months for his role hacking into the cell phones of members of the royal family, which he did while under contract with News Of The World. Reporter Clive Goodman was the first NOTW employee to go down for the hackings, because of his relationship with Mulcaire.