NYT’s Andy Coulson expose raises big questions about Scotland Yard


9:20 am - September 2nd 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The explosive New York Times story is mostly about the News of the World and its practices.

But it is also, perhaps more significantly, about Scotland Yard and how it conducted investigations during the episode. Here is what it has written about Scotland Yard (quoted from the paper, emphasis mine).

#1 Scotland Yard collected evidence indicating that reporters at News of the World might have hacked the phone messages of hundreds of celebrities, government officials, soccer stars — anyone whose personal secrets could be tabloid fodder. Only now, more than four years later, are most of them beginning to find out.

#2 Additional cases are being prepared, including one seeking a judicial review of Scotland Yard’s handling of the investigation. The litigation is beginning to expose just how far the hacking went, something that Scotland Yard did not do.

#3 In fact, an examination based on police records, court documents and interviews with investigators and reporters shows that Britain’s revered police agency failed to pursue leads suggesting that one of the country’s most powerful newspapers was routinely listening in on its citizens.

#4 Scotland Yard even had a recording of Mulcaire walking one journalist — who may have worked at yet another tabloid — step by step through the hacking of a soccer official’s voice mail, according to a copy of the tape. But Scotland Yard focused almost exclusively on the royals case, which culminated with the imprisonment of Mulcaire and Goodman.

#5 “There was simply no enthusiasm among Scotland Yard to go beyond the cases involving Mulcaire and Goodman,” said John Whittingdale, the chairman of a parliamentary committee that has twice investigated the phone hacking. “To start exposing widespread tawdry practices in that newsroom was a heavy stone that they didn’t want to try to lift.” Several investigators said in interviews that Scotland Yard was reluctant to conduct a wider inquiry in part because of its close relationship with News of the World.

#6 Scotland Yard’s narrow focus has allowed News of the World and its parent company, News International, to continue to assert that the hacking was limited to one reporter.

#7 Scotland Yard had chosen to notify only a fraction of the hundreds of people whose messages may have been illegally accessed — effectively shielding News of the World from a barrage of civil lawsuits.

#8 Scotland Yard also had a symbiotic relationship with News of the World. The police sometimes built high-profile cases out of the paper’s exclusives, and News of the World reciprocated with fawning stories of arrests.

#9 That fall, Andy Hayman, the head of the counterterrorism branch, was in his office when a senior investigator brought him 8 to 10 pages of a single-spaced “target list” of names and mobile phone numbers taken from Mulcaire’s home…. The prosecutor was stunned to discover later that the police had not shared everything.

[Note: Andy Hayman has since written on several occasions for the Times]

#10 Scotland Yard officials ultimately decided the inquiry would stop with Mulcaire and Goodman. “We were not going to set off on a cleanup of the British media,” a senior investigator said. In fact, investigators never questioned any other reporters or editors at News of the World about the hacking, interviews and records show.

#11 The woman and other potential hacking victims said that by sitting on the evidence for so long, the police have made it impossible to get information from phone companies, which do not permanently keep records. “It was disingenuous, to say the least, for Scotland Yard to say that,” the woman said.

#12 Three plaintiffs are jointly seeking a judicial inquiry into Scotland Yard’s handling of the hacking case.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


How’s that “evidence implicating Coulson” coming along?

Only I notice this is the fifth time The Guardian has run with this same story, and the fifth time they’ve been ignored due to lack of evidence.

@1

Why did Cameron, when appointing Coulson, say: “I believe in giving people a second chance” ? If Coulson was whiter than white as you make out he wouldn’t need one, would he? And why did he resign if he was utterly innocent? The NYT has been working on this story for a lo-ong time, I remember I think reading about a couple of their hacks holed up in a London hotel digging around the NotW dodgy practices and making British “journos” sweat with their investigations. Looks like Inspector Knacker has some questions to answer too… the plot thickens.

It’s long been apparent that there’s a slightly too-cosy relationship between some senior officers and the Murdoch press. The NYT has been facing an all-out assault since News Corp took over the WSJ, so this is going to be an interesting proxy tussle.

As I suspected, The Guardian doesn’t have any evidence.

One wonders how many times more they’ll run this story before they realize.

@4

But there’s plenty of evidence of you making a tit of yourself in front of Prescott, Coxall – and pushing two women over to do it. Run along, big man.

bluepillnation,

Do you have anything better to do than resort to ad hominem? I think you need evidence to prove Andy Coulson is involved in the hacking, and that as yet has not been forthcoming.

“and the fifth time they’ve been ignored due to lack of evidence.”

No, they’ve been ignored because the evidence reveals an extremely unhealthy relatiionship between the police and media, that if thoroughly investigated would probably lead to several police officers and senior journalists serving jail sentences.

Its easier for the establishment to ignore it rather than admit the biggest threat to civil liberties in the UK comes not from the state, but from private corporations – something libertarians are still too thick to understand.

Planeshift,

No, they’ve been ignored because the evidence reveals an extremely unhealthy relatiionship between the police and media, that if thoroughly investigated would probably lead to several police officers and senior journalists serving jail sentences.

In which case someone should be gathering the evidence and presenting it in a way which can’t be ignored. And the Guardian could do that if it had the evidence that couldn’t be ignored, which it appears not to have. I have no idea if the New York Times may have something.

If you are correct here, then something needs to be done. But that needs the evidence to be presented, and not just speculative. So the request for judicial review could be interesting…

The Guardian and NYT are gathering the evidence, and its being roundly ignored by conservatives.

Watchman, you are incredibly naive if you think the british establishment just needs to have “evidence presented in a way which can’t be ignored” in order to fully investigate the media. It isn’t going to do so because News International is a key part of that very establishment, and the other key newspapers are not going to support calls for a widespread investigation of media practices in the UK – anybody seriously think these practices are exclusive to the Murdoch press?

@6

I don’t give a stuff about Coulson in particular, or the Grauniad – as Planeshift says, this is but one facet of a problem that has been simmering under the surface for a while. I just got a tiny bit tired of Coxall’s bloviating when he’s already proven himself to be an overgrown attention whore.

I’ve long been of the opinion that the source of the most idiotic authoritarian policies of the last 13 years was members of the ACPO and the Murdoch press working together to push policy and threaten a massive media backlash if said policy was not implemented. The fact that The Sun and The Times occasionally published ACPO press releases almost verbatim in their editorials also raised my suspicions.

11. astateofdenmark

Its curious that the NYT claim to have conducted a six month investigation. Did they send journos over here? Very expensive. Did they sub contract to freelances based over here. Again very expensive. Or did they have a tele conference with their friends at the Guardian. Cheaper, but not quite the same veracity.

BTW, BPN @ 10 – Totally agree re: ACPO.

The media, particularly print media, have resisted globalisation, but the signs are there that it is happening. This is another sign.

@11

According to Private Eye a few months ago yeah the NYT sent two hacks over to London to carry out investigations.

Planeshift,

My belief is that if the Guardian (is that not part of the establishment anyway?) had enough evidence to prove anything and ran with it, and it was ignored, the blogs on both sides would open up, as would columnists on various papers etc, and especially commentators on the terrestial news channels. The ‘establishment’ ignoring an injustice is an irresistable target after all – could you see any of the major blogs chosing not to make an issue of it for example. Unless the New York Times produces more evidence, I don’t see this being viable.

bluepillnation,

I tend to agree with you about ACPO (which should be abolished, as it does no good but takes state money – and is happy to oppose the elected government) being a problem for liberty. I hadn’t noticed the close link with the Murdoch papers before, so that’s one worth watching thanks.

And I would not miss the Murdoch press much either…

Watchman,

I’m finding it hard to understand your position – what is it do you think has yet to proved?

That News International ran hacking operations on various people for several years?

Or that this went on but Coulsen didn’t know about it as it was restricted to a few loose cannon journalists?

15 – the only named source (all the rest are ‘reporters’ and ‘one editor’ and so on) who directly fingers Coulson as having been involved has his credibility as a witness rather reduced:

“Hoare said he was fired during a period when he was struggling with drugs and alcohol.”

You’d struggle to get a conviction on that.

@4: “As I suspected, The Guardian doesn’t have any evidence.”

As reported by the New York Times:

“The police had seized files from Mulcaire’s home in 2006 that contained several thousand mobile phone numbers of potential hacking victims and 91 mobile phone PIN codes. Scotland Yard even had a recording of Mulcaire walking one journalist — who may have worked at yet another tabloid — step by step through the hacking of a soccer official’s voice mail, according to a copy of the tape. But Scotland Yard focused almost exclusively on the royals case, which culminated with the imprisonment of Mulcaire and Goodman. When police officials presented evidence to prosecutors, they didn’t discuss crucial clues that the two men may not have been alone in hacking the voice mail messages of story targets.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05hacking-t.html?_r=1

This was how the BBC reported the trial at the Old Bailey in 2007:

The royal editor of the News of the World has been jailed for four months for plotting to intercept voicemail messages left for royal aides.

Clive Goodman, 49, of Putney, London, tapped into several hundred messages, the Old Bailey heard.

Glenn Mulcaire, 36, of Sutton, Surrey, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to the same charge.

The paper’s editor Andy Coulson later resigned, saying he took responsibility for the scandal.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6301243.stm

You’d struggle to find a journalist without problems of alcohol and drugs ;-)

Martin Coxall: “How’s that “evidence implicating Coulson” coming along?”

I don’t think the NYT is all that bothered about Coulson – it seems more concerned about Murdoch’s empire generally.

Besides, if Coulson was involved, why the hell would it matter particularly except to point-scoring hacks? I don’t think people’s expectations of honesty and integrity these days from either Tory or Labour political PR operatives are particularly high.

This real story is that the press were able to act in this way – and may well continue to be acting in this way – and the police turn a blind eye, apparently out of a combination of self-interest and deference to combined political and corporate power.

What I find so amazing is the claim by Andy Coulson, editor of the News of the World at the time, that he knew nothing about what was going on when the report of the trial by the Press Complaints Commission includes this testimony:

“2.1 Clive Goodman was a full time member of staff at the News of the World. The court heard that Glenn Mulcaire was an inquiry agent who was paid a retainer of £104,988 per annum by the newspaper. The court also heard that he had received £12,300 in cash from Clive Goodman.”
http://www.editorscode.org.uk/downloads/press_releases/PCC_report_on_subterfuge.pdf

An annual retainer of £104,988 for Glenn Mulcaire doesn’t seem to me to be an entirely trivial amount which could easily get overlooked.

Btw whatever happened to the subsequent career of Andy Coulson?

News update: according to this source, Andy Coulson now works in Downing St as director of government communications:

“Andy Coulson, a former national newspaper editor, has agreed a salary of £140,000 a year to join the Government as director of communications at Downing Street.

“Mr Coulson has quit a similar position he held at Conservative central office, for which he was paid £275,000 a year.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7818326/Andy-Coulson-takes-135000-pay-cut-to-join-Coalition-but-is-paid-more-than-Nick-Clegg.html

@Bob B,

What I find so amazing is the claim by Andy Coulson, editor of the News of the World at the time, that he knew nothing about what was going on when the report of the trial by the Press Complaints Commission includes this testimony …

“Throughout our inquiry, too, we have been struck by the collective amnesia afflicting witnesses from the News of the World. … In seeking to discover precisely who knew what among the staff of the News of the World we have questioned a number of present and former executives of News International. Throughout we have repeatedly encountered an unwillingness to provide the detailed information that we sought, claims of ignorance or lack of recall, and deliberate obfuscation. We strongly condemn this behaviour which reinforces the widely held impression that the press generally regard themselves as unaccountable and that News International in particular has sought to conceal the truth about what really occurred.Press standards, privacy and libel – Culture, Media and Sport Committee

To be fair,

“439. We have seen no evidence that Andy Coulson knew that phone-hacking was taking place. However, that such hacking took place reveals a serious management failure for which as editor he bore ultimate responsibility, and we believe that he was correct to accept this and resign.” – CMSC (as above)

‘Its easier for the establishment to ignore it rather than admit the biggest threat to civil liberties in the UK comes not from the state, but from private corporations – something libertarians are still too thick to understand.’

You don’t help your case by spouting bullshit. What the News of the World has been doing is spelling but it’s hardly in the same league as detention without trial, the National database, severe restrictions on assembly and free speech or the militarisation of the police.

‘What the News of the World has been doing is spelling’

‘Apalling’, obviously. Seriously Apple – what the fuck?

@24

“…but it’s hardly in the same league as detention without trial, the National database, severe restrictions on assembly and free speech or the militarisation of the police.”

All of which The Sun/NOTW/Times enthusiastically backed in their editorial stance – whether because of collusion with ACPO or because it directly suited Murdoch’s business interest, the result is the same.

“s detention without trial, the National database, severe restrictions on assembly and free speech or the militarisation of the police.”

Policy objectives made far easier due to the dishonest reporting of the media, in particular the murdoch press, in framing these issues as necessary national security measures.

Plus your neglecting the fundamental difference here; at least the above has been taken by a semi-democratic state that has avenues open to people to challenge and change it (not least the judicary who pretty much have been the sole defenders of civil liberties over the last decade – now guess who have been opposing that?). The murdoch empire has no accountability, acts above the law and acts entirely in its own commercial interest. The state – at least in democratic states – has benign features as well.

Backing a law is not the same as enforcing the law. The state still has the power to kill or incarcerate with impunity. There’s a massive difference between having your privacy violated by the press and being shot or beaten to death in public.

OK. So the theory is that the police, as represented by ACPO (an organisation not particularly popular with the rank and file, if police bloggers are anything to go by) is in leauge with News International to cover up wrong doing at one newspaper, which has now finished and led to an editorial resignation.

Not sure how the New York Times think this will damage Murdoch’s empire, since it is one publication within that, which has editorial independence, which is the subject of investigation here.

Even if anything can be proven about police complicity, this will still be at editorial level. So the best-case scenario (and I am not being sarcastic) is that a few policemen are shown to be too close to the media and therefore are disciplined (I can’t see criminal charges, sorry), and that perhaps a couple of editors or ex-editors are implicated in wrong doing – perhaps even Andy Coulson could be forced to resign, although I doubt they can get past his current screen of deniability. Be nice to see some damage to the police’s independent political aspirations and to Murdoch circulation, but not sure this will really achieve either.

@28

Planeshift puts it better than I do – The enaction of those policies became self-fulfilling largely *because* they were backed so enthusiastically by the press (The Sun/NOTW in particular). The government introduced those acts because the press, claiming to be the voice of the police and the public, demanded they be enacted – coincidentally with a not-so-subtle threat that if they were not enacted the next day’s front pages would scream “LABOUR SOFT ON TERROR AND CRIME”.

‘Policy objectives made far easier due to the dishonest reporting of the media, in particular the murdoch press, in framing these issues as necessary national security measures.’

Those stories were fed to the press by the government and it’s police force. The responsibility lies with the state.

‘Plus your neglecting the fundamental difference here; at least the above has been taken by a semi-democratic state that has avenues open to people to challenge and change it (not least the judicary who pretty much have been the sole defenders of civil liberties over the last decade – now guess who have been opposing that?). The murdoch empire has no accountability, acts above the law and acts entirely in its own commercial interest. The state – at least in democratic states – has benign features as well.’

I don’t see much accountability for the deaths of Thomlinson or de Menezes – on the other hand the boycott of The Sun by the people of Liverpool did have a significant impact.

The murdoch empire has no accountability, acts above the law and acts entirely in its own commercial interest.

But it isn’t beyond the law and cannot make up the law.

@31

If you seriously believe that the government likes infringing on civil liberties just for the hell of it, then I worry. A democratically-elected government should be there to serve the interests of the people – and that’s what the Labour Party was formed to do. Unfortunately with the rise of the media’s influence in the last century, it seems that governments not of the right will do anything to appease right-wing media barons in order to prevent negative press harming their chances of re-election.

ACPO have long been an law unto themselves (the fact that they are a private company rather than a government agency I think speaks volumes there) and it’s always seemed curious to me that Sun editorials on terror and crime prevention always seem to come along just as an initiative or suggestion for new legislation is put to the government by ACPO.

So on the one hand you have ACPO and News Corp. – unelected but very powerful and influential, and on the other you have the government, which in the case of the previous one was very susceptible to attacks on law & order and national security issues, long held to be the preserve of the then-opposition party (who also happen to be natural allies of the ACPO and News Corp.) Who do you think held the whip hand in that relationship?

@29

If it can open the can of worms surrounding how far the tendrils of the Murdoch organisation have insinuated themselves into our law enforcement agencies and government, then it will be a very big thing indeed.

The government introduced those acts because the press, claiming to be the voice of the police and the public, demanded they be enacted – coincidentally with a not-so-subtle threat that if they were not enacted the next day’s front pages would scream “LABOUR SOFT ON TERROR AND CRIME”.

I do not recall the papers demanding 90 day detention without charge (as but one example) before it was proposed by the Government. I agree with Shatterface that “Those stories were fed to the press by the government and it’s police force. The responsibility lies with the state.”

@15
There are two named sources.

Most former reporters are unnamed, but Sharon Marshall is named as having witnessed hacking when working under Coulson from 2002-04. “It was an industry-wide thing,” she said.

If you seriously believe that the government likes infringing on civil liberties just for the hell of it, then I worry.

I don’t know why people pretend to read minds and then make such silly statements.

There are two reasons why UK governments infringe civil liberties: because they believe it is necessary, and because there can be lots of votes in it. Law and order is one of the top four issues at election time (the others being the economy, education, and health), and something the the public has tended to trust the Conservatives with rather more than Labour. Labour is also a bit statist, centralist and authoritarian, and these factors, when combined with Blair & co’s casual disregard for things like the rule of law and due process, as well as civil liberties, led to some terrible proposals some of which thankfully didn’t make it into law.

@37

Statist and centralist? Maybe, but certainly no worse than any other European social democratic political entity – and at any rate there’s no shame in that, as it would appear that disparate private entities are just as capable of making a massive balls-up of things as public works projects.

I do take exception to “authoritarian” though – after all, with the exception of the Terrorism Acts, which were largely cheerled by senior police and the Murdoch organs, every authoritarian policy supposedly enacted by Labour (Public Order and Criminal Justice Acts) were in fact extensions of Tory policy from the 1980s. The only difference is that the Tories (and their Orange Book brethren) believe that a certain class of people should be able to buy a larger degree of civil liberty than the rest of us.

@34

Read ‘em and weep:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sun_says/article112730.ece

I wrote,

“I do not recall the papers demanding 90 day detention without charge (as but one example) before it was proposed by the Government.” (my emphasis in bold)

The date of the Sun article you linked to is 2 November 2005.

90 day detention without charge was proposed by the Government before that.

Try again.

bluepillnation @38, I’m rarely convinced by the arguments that “other nations do it too so it’s OK”.

I do take exception to “authoritarian” though – after all, with the exception of the Terrorism Acts, which were largely cheerled by senior police and the Murdoch organs, every authoritarian policy supposedly enacted by Labour (Public Order and Criminal Justice Acts) were in fact extensions of Tory policy from the 1980s.

“Supposedly” enacted? The policies were either enacted or they weren’t enacted, surely?

@39

The Government as a whole was going to tell the 90-day proponents (including Blair) to go shove it, and in that editorial you have The Sun effectively badgering MPs to vote for the 90-day amendment or they’ll be putting the country in danger. Thankfully both The Sun and Blair lost that particular round.

@40

Maybe poorly-phrased, but what I was getting at was that the clamour for the authoritarian policies (largely the police and the tabloid press) was coming from Tory-leaning, not Labour entities. The Labour government was basically giving them what they wanted to appease the nebulous “middle-class”* voters that they were so afraid of losing.

* – actually upper-middle-class voters, largely in the Home Counties, not natural Labour territory, but for some reason considered dreadfully important by Blair

bluepillnation,

The Government as a whole was going to tell the 90-day proponents (including Blair) to go shove it,

Please cite.

… and in that editorial you have The Sun effectively badgering MPs to vote for the 90-day amendment or they’ll be putting the country in danger. Thankfully both The Sun and Blair lost that particular round.

The Government of the day’s story was that the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke wrote to various people saying he was considering extending the period of detention without charge and requested their comments. Andy Hayman replied and suggested three months. The Government drafted the amendment to the then Terrorism Bill, it was debated in Committee (in October, I think) and subsequently by the Commons (about three days after the Sun article).
The date of Andy Hayman’s letter is 5 October 2005, suggesting that Clarke had contacted him prior to 5 October, which is roughly a month before the Sun article.

It was the Government that suggested (and it suggested this at other times too) extending the period of pre-trial detention and it did it before the Sun published that article you linked to.

bluepillnation,

Maybe poorly-phrased, but what I was getting at was that the clamour for the authoritarian policies (largely the police and the tabloid press) was coming from Tory-leaning, not Labour entities. The Labour government was basically giving them what they wanted to appease the nebulous “middle-class”* voters that they were so afraid of losing.

I agree that the Labour government sought to appease those who clamoured for Something To Be Done about terrorism – indeed I thought this could have been inferred from my comment @37.

Further to my comment @42, in Charles Clarke’s own words, on 11 October 2005:

“I wrote a letter to the leaders of the opposition parties, the Home Affairs spokespeople for the opposition parties, David Davis and Mark Oaten, in which I was both setting out where we were, explaining what I was proposing—in this case the three month detention period—but I was also thinking how to signal to them that I was ready, and I remain ready by the way, to seek agreement in the interests of a consensual approach to this with the opposition parties. At that stage Mr Oaten had not indicated that the Liberal Democrats would oppose any change beyond 14 days and Mr Davis had not yet had a chance to express his view on the situation. I toyed in my mind as to how to write the letter in a way which indicated flexibility on that in the way that I wanted to do, so the letter went through a number of drafts and, owing to the extreme efficiency of my office, we decided to show all these drafts to the public in the interests of enhancing public debate as the kind of spirit that we are always trying to promote. It was not doubts in my mind about the merits of the three month period, it was doubts about what I should say about the readiness to agree with the opposition parties which led to that. … If you say to me am I convinced the three months is the right period, yes I am. “

@42

And who do you think engaged Charles Clarke on the subject, if not the security and law enforcement lobby? This stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When it looked like it was going to the wire, the law enforcement lobby reached out to their friends in the tabloid press to plead their case.

Lest we forget, 49 Labour MPs were amongst those who prevented it from going through, despite the whip.

Government is necessary to provide for the welfare of those left behind by circumstance, and to prevent private entities from concentrating too much wealth and power in too few hands. The second purpose has, alas, fallen by the wayside recently, but I still believe that governments are not necessarily a bad thing.

bluepillnation,

And who do you think engaged Charles Clarke on the subject, if not the security and law enforcement lobby? This stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When it looked like it was going to the wire, the law enforcement lobby reached out to their friends in the tabloid press to plead their case.

Did I indicate I think such things happen in a vacuum?

I imagine there are ongoing conversations about (for example) terrorism between politicians themselves and between politicians, the CPS, the police, and the security services (and rightly so), and there are suggestions (e.g. prohibiting certain types of ‘speech’, pre-trial detention, etc) and politicians not only examine a suggestion on its own merits but also how they can use it in PR with the public / supporters / important agencies (e.g. the police).

In other words, “how does this benefit us / disadvantage the opposition” as well as “how does this benefit the public?”

Some conversations seem more likely to occur around particular events. The London bombings of 2005 occurred shortly before 90 days was publicly proposed – quite rightly, they discussed what to do about terrorism. And this was at a time when Blair’s approval ratings were at their lowest since ’97. Blair suffered his first Commons defeat on 90 days but it seems to me he won back a lot of public support.

There are also political techniques for getting stuff through including proposing something objectionable that they are happy to get on the statute book in a lesser form, the red rag and smuggle, and making a division an issue of confidence. I think they suspected 90 days would not go through but were happy to accept 28 days (60 days was also on the cards), the support from the police and public, and ‘out-toughing’ the opposition.

Lest we forget, 49 Labour MPs were amongst those who prevented it from going through, despite the whip.

Yes, and good for them – I think nearly every time I write about this stuff I praise the few Labour MPs (usually about 30 principled objectors) who stand against their colleagues (289, in the case of 90 days).

Bluepillnation,

If it can open the can of worms surrounding how far the tendrils of the Murdoch organisation have insinuated themselves into our law enforcement agencies and government, then it will be a very big thing indeed.

I suspect at most it will show some police figures saw political advantage in cosying up to journalists and editors, which is clearly wrong. As neither the Times nor Sky is involved in this case, or indeed even the Sun, it may be worth considering that the evidence will concern one, notoriously intrusive, Sunday tabloid, not the whole ‘Murdoch organisation’. It takes more than the Times publishing a piece by ACPO to show they benefit from the same relationship.

Hence the limits to my expectations – there is not the evidence, however far this story goes, to bring down anything more than the police officers involved and one paper (and that will not really be brought ‘down’ – the current editor for example is, as far as I know, uninvolved). This is not to say this would not be a good thing, but don’t get your hopes up.

Further to my comments @43, 42, 45:

Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), responsible for Specialist Operations, sketched out to us the background to the police letter and the Government’s proposals. He told us that there had been consultations on general terrorism legislation between the Government and the police and other agencies in July last year. These had become more focused in the wake of the July bombings. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) consulted its members and, as AC Hayman put it, “we felt from experience and investigations […] that 14 days was not sufficient and we were looking for an extension”.[21] Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, Head of the MPS Anti-Terrorist Branch and National Co-ordinator of Terrorist Investigations, explained that the proposal for extended detention had not been the subject of a formal working party within ACPO, but “the product of a lot of discussion and reflection by practitioners over a period of some two to three years”.[22]

24. An ACPO press release on 21 July 2005 included the extension of pre-charge detention to a maximum of 3 months in a section headed New Police Proposals; on 5 August, the Prime Minister, setting out his 12-point plan to combat terrorism, said “We will also examine whether the necessary procedure can be brought about to give us a way of meeting the police and security service request [IIRC MI5 later said it had not made such a request about 90 days, certainly this was the case with 42 days] that detention, pre-charge of terrorist suspects, be significantly extended”. … AC Hayman confirmed to us that the Government did not ask for evidence or justification of the case for an extension of detention additional to the press releases and two sides of A4.[25]

HAC

@46

Oh, I’m not getting my hopes up for anything drastic, but what it appears we have here, circumstantial though it may be, is cosying up from senior officers not just for political, but personal advantage in the case of Andy Hayman, now columnist for The Times. The Murdoch press has long benefited from police leaks for exclusives.

@47

In the case of the 90-day extension you have ACPO (a private, unelected entity, remember) picking that term on the 21st of July, and the PM mentioning it in his Anti-Terrorism plan announcement on the 6th of August. Hayman said that the Government did not ask for further justification, but by 2005 one suspects that doing whatever ACPO said had become endemic.

The point I was making was that when it looked like ACPO’s 90-day request was going to be voted down in Parliament, out comes The Sun, claiming to be speaking on behalf of the police, in full-throated support of the measure – accusing MPs who voted nay of endangering the country.

There is nothing the tory trolls won’t defend if the person is a Conservative. If call me Dave employed some one who had gunned down 25 people in a high street the trolls would be on here trying to defend the killer.

It is hysterical to watch their tribalism, and it shows how evil the conservative movement is. They swarmed onto this board over the last few years to lecture us on decency in politics, but now they are happy to support someone like this piece of dog shit.

As for the police , they are never going to investigate these sort of cases because the police and the media work together. Why do you think Sky News was allowed to cover the Raul Moat shoot out live? Be nice to the tabloids, and the tabloids will turn a blind eye into police brutality.

bluepillnation,

In the case of the 90-day extension you have ACPO (a private, unelected entity, remember)…

C’mon. It is funded (in part) by Home Office grant and all our police forces.

… picking that term on the 21st of July, and the PM mentioning it in his Anti-Terrorism plan announcement on the 6th of August. Hayman said that the Government did not ask for further justification, but by 2005 one suspects that doing whatever ACPO said had become endemic.

Your version of events, where the Government did whatever ACPO said, not only seems unlikely but also somewhat worse than my version.

Even more news about Andy Coulson here from the Indy:

. . . One former News of the World journalist, Sean Hoare, told the US reporters that he too hacked telephone calls and that Coulson knew and “actively encouraged me to do it”. Another, quoted anonymously, said he had been at “dozens if not hundreds” of meetings with Coulson, and heard people admitting to pulling phone records or listening to messages. (Coulson denies this.) . . .
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andy-mcsmith-the-mystery-of-how-a-handson-editor-could-know-so-little-2069272.html

Come to the Intelligence Squared debate next week which will see Max Mosley arguing for a change in privacy laws. How can the News of the World justify what they are doing? Wil it ever stop??

http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/sex-bugs-and-video-tapes

Max Mosley wants to “make it compulsory for journalists to inform people before publishing private information about them” (Intelligence Squared). That’s going too far.

i don’t think it is – its pretty standard journalistic practice to seek comment from somebody or an organisation before publishing a story about them. It would only be going too far if that person or organisation had a veto or a right to delay publication first, or if making yourself “unavailable for comment” could prevent publication.

@ukliberty

Is it though? Why does being a celebrity mean your rights to privacy are waived?

Is any prurient detail ‘in the public’s interest?’

debate http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/sex-bugs-and-video-tapes

Max Mosley wants to “make it compulsory for journalists to inform people before publishing private information about them” (Intelligence Squared). That’s going too far.

That assumes that information about what Max Mosley does privately that has no effect on his public activities (here running motor racing) belongs to everyone, not to Mr Mosley. I find this concerning – ideally it wouldn’t matter, because we would not be judgemental, but in fact it gives journalists power to discredit. Whilst there are moral judgements in the world, I would not be happy for people to chose to exercise them.

One angle I haven’t seen investigated in the NYTimes coverage or subsequent discussion is the role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The Met’s investigation into the News of the World must have come to the attention of Ken Macdonald, who was Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the time. Surely the decision not to persevere with a criminal investigation and trial was not entirely in the Met’s hands and culpability should be shared by Macdonald.

He’s also speaking at the Intelligence Squared debate, so I expect Mosley will give him a hard time over all this.


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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    NYT's Andy Coulson expose raises big questions about Scotland Yard http://bit.ly/br3J29

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  21. Bad Conscience

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  29. Clare Cochrane

    If u don't have time to read the NYT article, read this to find out what they found out about NotW phone hacking http://tinyurl.com/389ze7r

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  34. violet

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  40. Mainstream media’s hypocrisy over ‘wicked’ bloggers | Sunny Hundal | marketblogs.org

    [...] concerning, the corporation hasn’t even bothered questioning Scotland Yard’s worryingly close relationship with the NotW. I’m reminded of the time BBC reporters enthusiastically pushed the Met’s [...]

  41. sunny hundal

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  42. catherine buca

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  43. Mainstream media’s hypocrisy over ‘wicked’ bloggers | Sunny Hundal : get-xtra.com

    [...] concerning, the corporation hasn’t even bothered questioning Scotland Yard’s worryingly close relationship with the NotW. I’m reminded of the time BBC reporters enthusiastically pushed the Met’s [...]





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