News of the World executives may have been aware of widespread phone hacking at the U.K. tabloid since 2007, U.K. lawmaker Damian Collins said, citing a letter by former royal reporter Clive Goodman.
Editors discussed phone hacking at editorial meetings, according to a letter by Mr. Goodman several years ago in which he complained of unfair dismissal, Mr. Collins said in an interview today. News Corp., which abruptly closed the News of the World last month to head off growing outrage earlier this summer, had initially insisted that Mr. Goodman was a "rogue" reporter. He is the only journalist from the newspaper who has been jailed for phone hacking.
Alice Macandrew, a spokeswoman for News Corp., declined to comment on Clive Goodman's accusations.
The Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee today examined responses from former News Corp. employees and found "devastating revelations," Labour Party lawmaker Tom Watson, who sits on the committee, told reporters in London. The lawmakers still found differences in the statements on how much senior News Corp. executives knew about the scope of phone hacking.
Tom Crone, the News of the World legal manager, and Colin Myler, its one-time editor, are likely to be recalled in September to answer further questions, said John Whittingdale, who chairs the committee. The lawmakers will probably also recall James Murdoch, who would appear after Mr. Crone and Mr. Myler, Mr. Whittingdale said. The committee won't recall James' father Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of News Corp.
James Murdoch, who has overseen the News International U.K. arm since 2007, told lawmakers last month that he hadn't realized until late 2010 that phone hacking was widespread at News Corp.'s News of the World. That was soon contradicted by Mr. Crone and Mr. Myler, who said they informed him in 2008 about an e-mail suggesting more reporters had been involved, leading lawmakers to demand responses to explain the inconsistency.
-- Bloomberg News --