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Robert Lenzner

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The Murdoch Coverup Appears To Be Cracking

Posted: 07/22/11 06:31 PM ET

Rupert Murdoch cannot be pleased by the aftershocks of the hearing before Parliament.

Two former News International executives whose duties were key to the News of the World scandal have publicly denounced James Murdoch's assertion he knew nothing about the widespread hacking of soccer union leader Gordon Taylor or the much more widespread hacking of celebrities and others by the tabloid. The "underlying facts" which James Murdoch claimed to know nothing involved a series of emails hacked from Taylor that these two execs, a former editor and legal manager, assert were either presented to young Murdoch.

Second, a former News of the World Editor, Greg Miskiw, is planning to return from the U.S. to London to give testimony about the extent of hacking done under the editorship of Andy Coulson, his former boss, who has been arrested. Miskiw undoubtedly can describe the chain of command in ordering the hacking and paying off the police for information.

Third, Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator, whose legal payments were stopped yesterday by News International, has disclosed through his lawyer that he is now cooperating with the police. This is extremely important since News International waited a full four years or so before revealing its long-standing policy of bribing Scotland Yard officials for information. Mulcaire has nothing to lose since he already served a prison term.

When the full extent of the hacking and the amounts paid to police are known, the Murdochs' absurd claim that they knew nothing of these activities -- and were betrayed by others at News Intl. -- will go up in smoke. From reports in the Wall Street Journal it would appear that at least one UK law firm may have played a supporting role in covering up the extent of the hacking and the actual use of cash payments from News Intl to the police over a period of many years.

Lastly, this morning came reports that the U.S. Justice Department had issued subpoenas to News Intl. executives as part of an investigation to see if there might have been hacking of victims of the 9/11 terrorism act. It's no tea party to be 80 and have the governments coming after you.

There may be problems with the SEC as well, as News Intl. made no mention of the hacking investigation in the UK in its latest March 31 filing. More transparency please. Trial lawyers undoubtedly will jump in to make claims.

And has Rupert Murdoch finally ordered an internal investigation into all his other papers to see if hacking and paying off police could be going on elsewhere? Amazingly for a tough character like Murdoch, the busting loose of the News of the World Scandal did not trigger an immediate demand for investigations at every other paper worldwide.

 

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