9 Jul 2009

Is the phone tapping battle over?

Assistant Commissioner John Yates micturated on some of The Guardian’s allegations this evening. Cameron HQ thinks its man Andy Coulson is through the worst of it and they’ve won the battle. So is that it?

Labour MPs are determined to keep up the pressure any way they can.

The Media Select Committee wants to cross-examine Andy Coulson. Labour MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee are hoping to have an inquiry into “police failures over the News of the World phone tapping.”

John Yates said proving phone tapping retrospectively presented “technical challenges” that were “very, very significant.”

The police could not prove extensive phone tapping – does that mean it didn’t happen?

He also focused on the police file on the Goodman prosecution not the wider suggestion of systemic tapping.

On a different note, it will not have gone unnoticed in the Murdoch family that David Cameron stood by one of their own today.

If Andy Coulson had been jettisoned not only would people think he’d known about phone tapping but the finger would quickly turn to other Murdoch employees, including newly promoted Rebekah Wade and Les Hinton…and to “KRM,” as they call him, Keith Rupert Murdoch himself.

This is a kindness that may not go unrecognised.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

6 reader comments

  1. Anthony Martin says:

    No MP would ever have to worry about phone tapping if they abided to being 100% transparent and answerable.
    Like the blanked (redacted) expenses info. they always have much to hide.
    Perhaps legalising phone tapping could be a good thing!

  2. Matt London says:

    As far as I can work out, after ploughing through pages of hysteria from Labour supporters who think they can use this story to prove that the tories are almost as bad as they are, what happened is that people working for the NoW managed to snoop on voice mail messages left on the phones of a relatively small number – not thousands, not hundreds – of people who hadn’t had the nous to protect their voice mail by choosing a PIN number.

    When I was responsible for IT security in a government office the most effective means I found to make people aware of their responsibility to secure their systems was to do a bit of what the Guradian calls “hacking” and what the BBC calls “tapping” to demonstrate to them how foolish they had been. I hope the rather thick/lazy victims of this business have leaned a valuable lesson.

    As far as responsibility goes – Coulson resigned because of things he should have been aware of – perhaps Gordon Brown should look back at the McBride business and follow his example.

  3. Jay says:

    I’m afraid that this is another story that proves MPs live in their own “Bubbleverse” David Cameron seems to be getting acceptance and tolerance mixed up. If he believes that he can pretend that he is holding on to Andy Coulson for an altruistic motive such as loyalty or because he believes in giving people a second chance then he’s as self deluding as Brown. People are not fools and their tolerance for the political class is non-existent.

    I was watching a news magazine programme last night. And up to that point had never heard of Rebekah Wade. Perhaps someone could tell me if, when you give evidence to a parliamentary committee, you are immune to prosecution. Because it says a lot about how woeful parliament and the PCC are, if newspaper editors feel free to openly admit to bribing the police for information in the past and their intent to do it in the future and the only consequence is an MP pointing out that its illegal.

  4. y.s. says:

    News International owns The Sun, N.O.W. The Times, Sunday Times, ownes part of Sky News and provides news to C5 and lots of radio stations.
    They have FOX network in the U.S. and STAR in India as well as Newspaper and TV busineses in China and Australia.
    My question is … is it a private BIG BROTHER now. Does it control too much.

  5. y.s. says:

    Seen the report on C4 News on friday, Fox reporter asked Rupert Murdoch About the phone tapping, Rupert said he didnt want to talk about it, … next subject.
    Well you cant persue him if he is your emplyer??

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