Thursday, August 18, 2011

News of the World reporter's bombshell letter says phone hacking was 'widely discussed'

Tuesday, August 16th 2011, 10:15 AM

Clive Goodman, pictured in 2006, was the former royal editor for Britain's News of the World paper.
Carl de Souza/AP
Clive Goodman, pictured in 2006, was the former royal editor for Britain's News of the World paper.
James Murdoch will likely be called back to testify before Parliament.
Sang Tan/AP
James Murdoch will likely be called back to testify before Parliament

It's not the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up.

A shocking letter from the reporter at the heart of News Corp.'s hacking scandal says the illegal practice was openly discussed by editors despite company claims no one knew.

The letter by disgraced royal correspondent Clive Goodman was sent four years ago to top company officials after he spent time in jail for hacking royal family voicemails.

"This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor \[Andy Coulson\]," stated the letter, which was obtained by the Guardian.

It also said that Coulson had offered to let Goodman keep his job if he did not name any other names as he went down.

Goodman wrote the letter to appeal his ultimate dismissal saying he kept up his end of the bargain and he expected News Corp. to do the same.

The letter surfaces just as British lawmakers said Tuesday they will likely bring James Murdoch back to testify about the scandal that has rocked his father's media empire.

A parliamentary panel said it had no plans, however, to bring News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch back to answer further questions.

The father-son duo testified last month that they had no knowledge of widespread phone hacking at their News of the World scandal rag. During the hearing, the elder Murdoch was hit in the face by a cream pie.

Their testimony was immediately contradicted by former editor Colin Myler and company lawyer Tom Crone, who suggested James Murdoch knew more than he let on.

"There seems to be a question as to whether James Murdoch himself misled the committee," said committee member Tom Watson. "We have not reached a conclusion on that."

The scandal has persisted for years after it emerged in 2007 that the sleazy tabloid had hacked into the voicemails of celebrities, athletes and members of the royal family.

But public revulsion reached fevered pitch earlier this year, when it became known that reporters at the paper had hacked into the phones of murder and terrorism victims, as well as slain soldiers.

The revelations led News Corp. to shutter the 168-year-old newspaper and has led the FBI to open an investigation into whether 9/11 victims' phones in the U.S. were similarly hacked.

News Corp.'s U.S. properties include the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.

The scandal has also tarnished Prime Minister David Cameron after he hired Andy Coulson as his spokesman despite his role in the phone hacking affair.

Coulson later resigned and has since been arrested.

With News Wire Services

lalpert@nydailynews.com


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/08/16/2011-08-16_news_of_the_world_reporters_bombshell_letter_says_phone_hacking_was_widely_discu.html#ixzz1VOGAGkqZ
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