The phone numbers of Britain’s top policemen, including John Yates and former Met Commissioner Lord Blair, were on lists obtained by detectives investigating phone hacking at the News of the World.
Assistant Commissioner Yates, who was charged with reviewing the initial 2006 investigation into allegations of phone hacking, told MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday: “From the methods I know that are used, and the impact it has on your phone, your pin number, I am 99 per cent certain my phone was hacked during a period of 2005-06.
“Who by, I don’t know. The records don’t exist any more.”
And ex-Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Blair, Britain’s former top policeman, confirmed that his home and mobile phone numbers were on the lists being examined by detectives in the current investigation, Operation Weeting.
But said he had no evidence that his voicemail messages were illegally intercepted.
I can assure you all that I have never lied and all the information that I’ve provided to this committee has been given in good faith. John Yates
“What I am aware of is that my mobile and home telephone numbers were within the files that have been examined,” he said.
“I have no evidence and nor, as far as I am aware, does Operation Weeting have any evidence to suggest that those phones were hacked.”
Scotland Yard officers carrying out Operation Weeting are examining 11,000 pages of material containing nearly 4,000 names of possible hacking victims.
AC Yates, now the Met’s head of counter-terrorism, told the committee that he did not accept reponsibility for News of the World‘s actions, but offered his apologies to the victims of phone hacking – specifically to the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose voicemails were intercepted when she went missing in 2001.
AC Yates also apologised for any perceived damage to the Metropolitan Police as a result of his 2009 ruling that there was no need to reopen the phone-hacking investigation.
But he insisted he had always told the truth to the Home Affairs Select Committee and suggested that the News of the World “failed to co-operate” with police until the start of this year.
“I can assure you all that I have never lied and all the information that I’ve provided to this committee has been given in good faith,” he told the MPs.
“It is a matter of great concern that, for whatever reason, the News of the World appears to have failed to co-operate in the way that we now know they should have with the relevant police inquiries up until January of this year.
“They have only recently supplied information and evidence that would clearly have had a significant impact on the decisions that I took in 2009, had it been provided to us.”