Les Hinton, the close Rupert Murdoch ally who was forced out of his role as the publisher of the Wall Street Journal thanks to the phone hacking scandal, is facing new calls from two US senators for an investigation into his knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World.
Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia demanded a new investigation into Hinton on Wednesday, in light of recent revelations that the tabloid may have hacked as many as 4,000 people. Hinton, the former chairman of News International, told the British Parliament twice that phone hacking at the company was limited to just one reporter who was arrested for phone hacking in 2006. The senators wrote to the Journal's parent company Dow Jones, requesting an inquiry intowhether Hinton or other senior Dow Jones executives knew about phone hacking at the parent company's properties. Both are demanding assurance that "this kind of misconduct has not occurred in the US" and that "senior executives at News Corporation properties in our country were not aware of, or complicit in, any wrongdoing."
They also wanted to know if any Dow Jones executives expressed concern about Hinton's hiring in 2007, in light of his role at News International during the alleged phone hacking. Hinton served as the chairman of News International from 1995 until 2007, during which time the News of the World hacked the voice mailboxes of celebrities, politicians and murder victim Milly Dowler. The tabloid also paid the legal fees for a News of the World reporter and freelance private investigator who hacked aides to the royal family.
The new calls for an investigation into Hinton are the latest developments in the News Corp. scandal on this side of the Atlantic. The FBI is currently investigating reports that News Corp. hacked the voicemail accounts of 9/11 victims.