Media

It Gets Worse And Worse

Today’s scoop, from the Evening Standard:

Personal details about the Queen and her closest aides were sold to the News of the World by corrupt royal protection officers, the Standard reveals today.

The information included phone numbers and tips about the movements and activities of the Queen, Prince Philip and staff in a serious breach of national security. The payments, and involvement of the royal and diplomatic protection squad, were uncovered by News International in 2007.

Journalists with close relationships with police officers, involving the handing over of confidential information in return for favours and payments, is a serious matter. It is a particularly pernicious form of corruption.

Except that the Evening Standard wasn’t supposed to have this “scoop”: which potentially imperils an ongoing investigation:

It is our belief that information that has appeared in the media today is part of a deliberate campaign to undermine the investigation into the alleged payments by corrupt journalists to corrupt police officers and divert attention from elsewhere.

At various meetings over the last few weeks information was shared with us by News International and their legal representatives and it was agreed by all parties that this information would be kept confidential so that we could pursue various lines of inquiry, identify those responsible without alerting them and secure best evidence.

However we are extremely concerned and disappointed that the continuous release of selected information – that is only known by a small number of people – could have a significant impact on the corruption investigation.

So – who is leaking information to the Evening Standard. News International? Somebody within the police?

It wouldn’t be unprecedented.

JR in the comments says:

Erm – I thought it was common knowledge that Robert Peston (who is breaking all of these stories today) is being briefed by News International? Go to his BBC blogs – he’s even started running non-attributed quotes from Will Lewis and Brooks.

Honestly if you think it’s the police you haven’t got a clue.

UPDATE

And the Guardian’s revelations:

Journalists from across News International repeatedly targeted the former prime minister Gordon Brown, attempting to access his voicemail and obtaining information from his bank account, his legal file as well as his family’s medical records.

There is also evidence that a private investigator used a serving police officer to trawl the police national computer for information about him.

That investigator also targeted another Labour MP who was the subject of hostile inquiries by the News of the World, but it has not confirmed whether News International was specifically involved in trawling police computers for information on Brown.

Separately, Brown’s tax paperwork was taken from his accountant’s office apparently by hacking into the firm’s computer. This was passed to another newspaper.

Brown was targeted during a period of more than 10 years, both as chancellor of the exchequer and as prime minister. Some of the activity clearly was illegal. Other incidents breached his privacy but not the law. An investigation by the Guardian has found that:

• Scotland Yard has discovered references to both Brown and his wife, Sarah, in paperwork seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who specialised in phone hacking for the News of the World;

• Abbey National bank found evidence suggesting that a “blagger” acting for the Sunday Times on six occasions posed as Brown and gained details from his account;

• Brown’s London lawyers, Allen & Overy, were tricked into handing over details from his file by a conman working for the Sunday Times;

• Details from his infant son’s medical records were obtained by the Sun, who published a story about the child’s serious illness.

Well, that’s the Sun and the Sunday Times brought into the loop.

When will other non-News International newspapers also be drawn in to this scandal?

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