Lawyers for survivors of the July 2005 terrorist attack in London are looking into whether Scotland Yard officers leaked their phone numbers to News Of The World.
Beverli Rhodes, chair of the Survivors’ Coalition Foundation, told the Guardian that a number of survivors had contacted her with suspicions that Scotland Yard had “sold” or leaked their phone numbers, after they had been contacted by News Of The World reporters. She herself shared those suspicions: “Scotland Yard had the full list of survivor contact details. I am pretty sure that is how the News of the World got my home address. I had only moved there maybe three or four weeks before News of the World reporters turned up. The only place where my new details were stored were the post office, bank, doctor and Scotland Yard.”
“The suspicion is that the full list was given or sold on to the newspaper or News International or fell into someone’s lap when visiting the Yard,” she said.
The Guardian reports that the group of survivors is discussing its options with a law firm, and has requested more information from the police.
Scotland Yard is dealing with a number of other allegations related to the scandal as well.
Former assistant police commissioner Andy Hayman, who resigned in 2007, has been accused of paying for champagne and steak dinners for News Of The World reporters on Scotland Yard’s dime, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Two months after his resignation, which came shortly after an investigation was launched into his spending, Hayman got a job at News International.
Scotland Yard is also conducting an internal investigation into allegations that as many as five officers were bribed by NOTW reporters. The police agency has already seen its commissioner and assistant commissioner resign after questions about the botched initial investigation into the phone hacking allegations, and questions about several officials’ ties to NOTW reporters.
The phone hacking allegations have also threatened to extend to Britain’s the Daily Mirror tabloid, and former editor Piers Morgan, who now hosts a show on CNN. A former Mirror reporter claims that the practice was “endemic” at the paper, adding: “I can’t say 100 percent that [Morgan] knew about it. But it was inconceivable he didn’t.”
Morgan, who edited the paper until 2004, strongly denied the allegations to the New York Times. “I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone,” he said. “I am not aware, and have never seen evidence to suggest otherwise, that any Mirror story published during my tenure was obtained from phone hacking.”
Members of Parliament are scheduled to meet and discuss whether to call James Murdoch back before the Committee to ask him questions about allegations that he misled them in his testimony. Last week, two former NOTW employees claimed that Murdoch “was mistaken” when he testified that he didn’t know that other reporters were involved in the phone hacking in 2008, before he settled a lawsuit with a victim of the hacking.
A third former employee, Jon Chapman, News International’s former director of legal affairs, said he wants to correct “serious inaccuracies” in Murdoch’s testimony and plans to cooperate with Parliament. An outside attorney who was involved in the settlement negotiations in 2008 is also reportedly planning to come forward to possibly challenge Murdoch’s testimony, according to the New York Times.
If the claims are true, it would undermine much of the Murdochs’ defense that they believed the phone hacking to be limited to one reporter, Clive Goodman — and would suggest that the settlement was an effort to cover up the extent of the scandal by keeping revelations about other reporters out of court. Read more about those allegations here.
Tom Watson, a Labour member of Parliament, said he has requested that Scotland Yard investigate the allegations.