1 Sep 2010

Fresh allegations Coulson knew about hacking

Just seen this on New York Times, who have been investigating the News International phone hacking allegations.

It had been rumoured that the paper was coming out with fresh allegations that Andy Coulson, now the No. 10 communications chief, knew all about the hacking, something that Andy Coulson has always denied.

Here’s the nub of what they’ve come out with:

“But interviews with more than a dozen former reporters and editors at News of the World present a different picture of the newsroom. They described a frantic, sometimes degrading atmosphere in which some reporters openly pursued hacking or other improper tactics to satisfy demanding editors. Andy Coulson, the top editor at the time, had imposed a hypercompetitive ethos, even by tabloid standards. One former reporter called it a “do whatever it takes” mentality. The reporter was one of two people who said Coulson was present during discussions about phone hacking. Coulson ultimately resigned but denied any knowledge of hacking.

“News of the World was hardly alone in accessing messages to obtain salacious gossip. “It was an industrywide thing,” said Sharon Marshall, who witnessed hacking while working at News of the World and other tabloids. “Talk to any tabloid journalist in the United Kingdom, and they can tell you each phone company’s four-digit codes. Every hack on every newspaper knew this was done.”

“Bill Akass, the managing editor of News of the World, dismissed “unsubstantiated claims” that misconduct at the paper was widespread and said that rigorous safeguards had been adopted to prevent unethical reporting tactics. “We reject absolutely any suggestion or assertion that the activities of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, at the time of their arrest, were part of a ‘culture’ of wrongdoing at the News of the World and were specifically sanctioned or accepted at senior level in the newspaper,” Akass wrote in an e-mail…

“Coulson [has always] maintained he had been unaware of the illegal activities. “I have never condoned the use of phone hacking, and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place,” he said.”

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

10 reader comments

  1. Saltaire Sam says:

    I’m always suspicious when someone uses the words ‘nor do I have any recollection’, bit like a politician saying ‘I don’t have any plans to…’

    As an editor, wouldn’t Coulson have asked ‘where did you get this?’ especially on major revelation stories? So did the reporters lie to him or did he let them get away with ‘you don’t want to know’ and a wink?

    And what were the paper’s lawyers doing? did they not ask the source of the information?

  2. Y.S. says:

    NOW destrys lives. They can target you then wait till you do something that can be of use to them.
    Illegal, undemocratic and wrong. Not good for society and the harm it can do to the people involved.

    1. Tom Wright says:

      So what if phone taps have been used? Who cares! Journalists have always used methods which are not strictly above board to bring us the truth. They use ‘sources’ which have clearly broken the law, particularly the Official Secrets Act, and they often use processes a court would describe as entrapment.

      So what! The real question is: do we want investigative journalism which gets the truth, and is risky – like Andrew Gilligan and the Sexed Up dossier, or do we want only the ‘official’ govt version of WMDs justifying war?

      I’d suggest that the public does not want to Hello school of journalism where we get a tour of Tony Blair’s house and learn the Great Man’s favourite colour: demonising Andy Coulson, whatever your view of politics, is not going to help.

      This story is not about phone tapping. It’s about public interest revelations and how they are being curtailed by the courts and politicians in the name of Rights.

    2. Carl Barron says:

      I fully agree with Tom Wright’s comments as to phone tapping, seeing as Labour Government gave the OK for local councils to record at will all our e-mails and phone messages they have set a very poor and dangerous example.

      Big Brother UK had escalated under labour to a very dangerous extreme.

      Now we have this:

      Social Networks under attack by Big Brother Erasure System. http://tinyurl.com/ygev7a9

      Strangely enough after my posting via twitter and Facebook as to: Social Networks under attack by Big Brother Erasure System. http://tinyurl.com/ygev7a9 only one of my comments relating to the above appears in my DISQUS profile (3 days late) yet all the others that that were posted via the ‘DISQUS System’ can only be seen posted into my twitter and Facebook page.

      Signed Carl Barron Chairman of agpcuk

  3. Mudplugger says:

    The surprise would be if anyone is surprised.

  4. tw says:

    About time the rest of the broadcast and print media picked up on this. The Guardian appears to be the lone voice which demonstrates that journalism in the country is either rotten to the core or populated by spineless, toothless corporate puppets. (Not you Gary!)

  5. Carl Barron says:

    BBC News states: Prescott may seek judicial review of phone hack claims,.

    That’s really ripe coming from Prescott, as it was under the now ‘Discredited David Blunket’s Directive’ that all Councils could Tap the UK phone lines so ‘Hack, Tap’ whatever you want to call it is an invasion of ‘Civil Rights’.

    Does anyone honestly believe that any such information gained might not be used to sell to others?

    Town hall bureaucrats have been caught snooping on private details held on a giant ‘Big Brother’ tax and benefits database. Link to cover story here > http://tinyurl.com/3y6nfc8

    Remember the threat by UK Gov of £500,000 under the new powers for Data breaches?
    So come on UK Gov start fining the ‘Town Hall Data Breacher’s’.

    Come on Privacy regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) do you darn.

    Signed Carl Barron Chairman of agpcuk

  6. Wilma Miller says:

    I am so fed up with the righteous indignation of John Prescott- does he have a running contract with all the media? Almost every day he pops up again sluttering about some new outrage. What a shame he wasn’t so outraged by the hacks, spinners and low life who ran the communications at number 10 when the sainted Gordon and Tony were PM.Mind you I had expected better of Alan Johnston but obviously he’s decided to join the band.
    If the Tories had the sort of ‘instant rebuttal’ strategy in place that was so typical of New Labour we wouldn’t hear so much of this stuff, let alone have it as a lead piece in the news.

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