When the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal broke big last month and Rupert Murdoch's company came under fire for previously insisting that lawbreaking at its tabloid had not been widespread problem, I noted that News Corp.'s initial internal investigation into the matter had either been completely inept, or part of a failed cover-up.
Today, with more damaging scandal revelations from London tumbling out into plain view, it appears cover-up may have won out over ineptitude. And what's telling is that we're now beginning to see a pattern of alleged hacking cover-ups within News Corp. It's a pattern that extends from Britain to the United States, and one that law enforcement ought to be focusing in on.
On the phone-hacking front, a letter has been made public today in which former Murdoch tabloid reporter, and phone-hacking point man, Clive Goodman alleged that his News of The World boss Andy Coulson was among the senior executives who, years ago, knew about his illegal activity.
From the Guardian [emphasis added]:
In the letter, which was written four years ago but published only on Tuesday, Goodman claims that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at editorial meetings at the paper until Coulson himself banned further references to it; that Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed not to implicate the paper in hacking when he came to court; and that his own hacking was carried out with "the full knowledge and support" of other senior journalists, whom he named.
This really does break the story wide open, with Goodman's claims, made in real time (2007), running completely counter to public statements News Corp. executives have made in their attempt over the years to minimize the scandal. Goodman's claims also obliterate the findings of News Corp.'s woeful, feel-good internal investigation, which announced the company did not have a widespread hacking problem, but rather had been infected by a rogue element.
As for the troubling trans-Atlantic pattern, here's what Media Matters noted just yesterday:
Faced with allegations that its employees had hacked into a competitor's password-protected website and stolen proprietary information, a News Corp. marketing firm responded by launching a woefully inadequate internal investigation that "failed to perform any" of the "basic steps" necessary to identify the culprits, according to forensic expert hired by the competing company.
News. Corp.'s competitor was a New Jersey firm, and its expert concluded Murdoch's company conducted an internal hacking investigation that looked more like a cover-up than a fact-finding mission; that News Corp. investigators oversaw a "rudimentary and deficient" inquiry.