News Corp. Hacking Admissions Spread To Times of London; FBI Focuses U.S Investigation

The editor of Rupert Murdoch's Times of London conceded today that the newspaper misled a British public inquiry in 2009 regarding an incident in which a Times reporter hacked into the email of an anonymous blogger who wrote about police activities.

Three years ago, the newspaper told a British High Court it had obtained the name of the newsworthy blogger via “self-starting journalistic endeavor.” Editor James Harding today admitted that was not true, and that hacking into the blogger's private email was how a Times reporter obtained the information.

The concession is embarrassing for News Corp., since the Times is considered to be a “serious” newspaper, offering a counter-balance to Murdoch's London tabloids; the same tabloids that are at the center of the long-running phone hacking scandal. Also, Monday's admission means that Murdoch's News Corp. has now publicly admitted to hacking phones, computers and emails.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the FBI if focusing its investigation into allegations that British tabloid employees, working for the U.S.-based News Corp., may have violated American law by paying police officers in exchange for news stories:

The FBI is conducting an investigation into possible criminal violations by Murdoch employees of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a law intended to curb payment of bribes by U.S. companies to foreign officials, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

The U.S. official said that if any law enforcement action was pursued by U.S. authorities against Murdoch employees, it would most likely relate to FCPA.

Reuters reports that U.S. investigators have found “no evidence” to corroborate a British press report from last year claiming Murdoch's now defunct tabloid News of the World had tried to obtain voice mail messages from cell phones belonging to victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.