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    Update on Phone Hacking Allegations Against News of the World

    There are numerous charges of widespread hacking by British tabloid News of the World of numerous victims’ telecommunications services. The newspaper soon announced that it would close. Now, the New York Times reports that there are allegations that the News of the World hacked the phones of Scotland Yard investigators who were looking into the tabloid’s activities:

    Shortly after Scotland Yard began its initial criminal inquiry of phone hacking by The News of the World in 2006, five senior police investigators discovered that their own cellphone messages had been targeted by the tabloid and had most likely been listened to.

    The disclosure, based on interviews with current and former officials, raises the question of whether senior investigators feared that if they aggressively investigated, The News of the World would punish them with splashy articles about their private lives. Some of their secrets, tabloid-ready, eventually emerged in other news outlets.

    Those damaging allegations, about two of the senior officers’ private lives, involved charges that one had padded his expense reports and was involved in extramarital affairs and that the other used frequent flier miles accrued on the job for personal vacations. […]

    Members of Parliament will question […] senior police officials at a hearing on Tuesday of the Home Affairs Select Committee to try to determine why the Metropolitan Police decided to strictly limit the initial phone-hacking inquiry in 2006.

    One area of inquiry is whether the fact that the officials’ phones had been hacked had any impact on the scope of their initial investigation, according to two members of the committee. They are also concerned about whether the investigators had a conflict of interest because they themselves were victims of the people they were investigating. […]

    At the same time, Scotland Yard is also investigating allegations that News of the World reporters had passed more than £100,000 in bribes (about $160,000 at current exchange rates) to police officers in exchange for inside information. Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor, was arrested on Friday. Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, which published The News of the World, is expected to be interviewed by the police this week.

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