by Marian Wang, ProPublica
New documents published today cast doubt on News Corporation’s claims that top executives and editors at the now-defunct News of the World were unaware of widespread phone hacking at the paper. One of the documents had also been aggressively redacted by News Corp., which removed references that referred to top editors knowing about the hacking. We’ve posted the document, with News Corp.’s redaction revealed .
The document, a four-year-old letter from former News of the World correspondent Clive Goodman, asserted that other members of the staff were also using phone hacking and that the practice “was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference.” The letter also alleged that News of the World had promised Goodman, who was fired for phone hacking, that he could have his job back if he “did not implicate the paper or any of its staff.” Goodman, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, both served jail time in 2007 for phone hacking, and the scandal died down after a limited investigation by Scotland Yard found no evidence of widespread hacking.
When News Corp. recently sent a copy of the letter to the parliamentary committee investigating the scandal, it removed or redacted the embarrassing allegations. But we know what the references said because Harbottle & Lewis, a law firm that conducted an internal review of News Corp., sent the committee another copy of the letter that left in those key details.
One committee member, Labor MP Tom Watson, told the Guardian that the letter from Goodman is “the most significant piece of evidence that has been revealed so far.” In a statement, News International told the Guardian: “We recognize the seriousness of materials disclosed to the police and parliament and are committed to working in a constructive and open way with all the relevant authorities.”