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