Just days after resigning her top post in Rupert Murdoch’s news empire, British police have arrested Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of The News of the World.
The arrest also falls two days before she is due to face a panel in the British Parliament. It is currently unclear whether this will affect this scheduled appearance.
The 43 year-old Brooks is being held on charges of illegally intercepting communications and organizing improper payments to police officers.
Brooks was the editor of the now-defunct British tabloid from 2000 - early 2003. In that time reporters at the paper are alleged to have performed two of the most explosive parts of the scandal thus far: hacking into — and deleting — the voice messages of a murdered schoolgirl, and also attempting to hack the phones of 9/11 victims.
The scandal’s shock waves have hit numerous high-ranking members of the Murdoch empire, including Les Hinton, the Dow Jones chief many regarded as Murdoch’s most loyal lieutenant.
The issue has also discomfited British Prime Minister David Cameron. He has faced hostile questions in Parliament over his hiring of Andy Coulson, another News of the World honcho who has since been arrested. Coulson served as Cameron’s top PR man from 2007 - 2010, having resigned as Deputy Editor of The News of the World when hacking allegations first bubbled to the surface. Cameron says Coulson denied he had authorized or even known about the these operations.
The scandal could yet spread across the Atlantic. Members of the U.S. Congress have called for investigations given the connection to 9/11 victims, and the fact that Murdoch’s center of operations is in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice and FBI also say they are aware of the charges and have opened inquiries.