The 12 Nastiest Villains in the Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal
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2. Glenn Mulcaire. The private investigator Goodman hired to hack the voice-mail of an aide to Prince William. He, too, was sentenced in 2006 to several months in jail. Mulcaire broke his silence earlier this month to apologize to those he had harmed with his hacking.
3. Unnamed info-leaking and possibly bribe-taking bobbies. At this point, no names have been dropped of cops on the take from Murdoch’s minions. But if a cop who provides, say, information on your location via his or her access to a GPS system that tracks your cell phone, as reportedly took place on behalf of News International reporters, we can’t imagine a more weasely kind of villain.
4. Neil Wallis. Former News of the World editor who was hired as a public relations consultant by Scotland Yard; friend of top cop Paul Stephenson. Was also the PR consultant to Champney’s, an exclusive spa that provided Stephenson with around $18,000 worth of free services. In 2009, Wallis advised Scotland Yard’s third-in-command, John Yates, not to pursue an earlier investigation into News of the World phone-hacking beyond the initial targets of Goodman and Mulcaire. (Yates obliged.) Wallis reported back to his former colleagues at News of the World on the state of the investigation of their activities. He was arrested on July 14 as part of the current News of the World investigation.
5. Paul Stephenson. Until this week, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Authority, or Scotland Yard (since 2009). Resigned his position on Sunday, July 17, following questions surrounding Scotland Yard’s engagement of former N ews of the World editor Neil Wallis as a public relations consultant, and whether Stephenson’s hiring of Wallis resulted in Stephenson receiving free services from Champney’s spa. In his resignation statement, Stephenson took a parting shot at Prime Minister David Cameron, who has come under fire for hiring another former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, as his communications director. (Coulson resigned that position in January.) At least Wallis, Stephenson said, was never implicated in the phone-hacking scandal, as Coulson was.
6. John Yates. Until this week, served as assistant deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Authority; resigned on Monday, July 18. Responsible for limiting the initial police investigation of News of the World's phone hacking to the work of one reporter, even though many others at the publication were believed to have taken part in similar activities.
7. Rebekah Brooks. Former chairman, News International; former editor News of the World, as well as the Sun, another News International tabloid. Resigned her News International position on Friday, July 15. Was the top editor at the News of the World when the paper hacked the voice-mail account of 13-year-old Milly Dowler, a London schoolgirl who went missing in 2002. At the direction of News of the World employees, a private investigator not only hacked Dowler’s cell-phone voice-mail, but erased voice-mail messages when the mailbox was full, apparently in the hope of receiving more messages that would provide details for the paper’s story on her disappearance. The tampering gave the family and police false hope that the girl was still alive. She was later found murdered. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown alleges that while Brooks edited the Sun, the paper used nefarious means to glean confidential information about the health of his seriously ill children. Brooks was arrested on Sunday, July 17, but not charged with a specific crime, as is permissible under British law. She is scheduled to appear before Parliament today.
8. Les Hinton. Former CEO of the Dow Jones Company and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal; former executive chairman of News International until Murdoch moved him to New York in 2007 to run the Dow Jones operation (which publishes the Wall Street Journal.) Resigned from News Corp. on Friday, July 15, after a 52-year career with the company. Testified on the phone-hacking scandal twice before a committee of Parliament; told lawmakers the scandal involved the work of a single rogue reporter, Clive Goodman. The Guardian revealed last week that Hinton, while at the helm of News International, had access to the memos resulting from a 2007 investigation revealing that phone-hacking activities were widespread among News of the World staff. Hinton, however, told the culture committee of the House of Commons that his thorough internal investigation implicated only Goodman, the royals reporter.