The British House Of Commons released a scathing report Wednesday accusing Rupert Murdoch’s News International of “deliberately trying to thwart” the initial investigation into the News Of The World phone hacking allegations.
“We are astounded at the length of time it has taken for News International to cooperate with the police but we are appalled that this is advanced as a reason for failing to mount a robust investigation,” the report said.
The report was put out by the Home Affairs Committee, which examined Scotland Yard’s investigation from 2005-2006 into allegations that NOTW hacked into the phone records of murder and terrorism victims, public officials, and celebrities. The investigation resulted in the conviction of reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, but the report criticizes Scotland Yard for narrowly focusing on those two convictions and not examining 11,000 pages of evidence that were seized from Mulcaire. “A huge amount of material that could have identified other perpetrators and victims was in effect set to one side,” the report said.
The report also condemned Scotland Yard for its failure to “intensify the investigations” once News International failed to cooperate. “The difficulties were offered to us as a justifying failure to investigate further and we saw nothing that suggested there was a real will to tackle and overcome those obstacles.”
Scotland Yard has been accused of botching the investigation because of close ties to News Of The World reporters and executives, and several police officers are suspected of taking bribes from reporters.
The report also questions statements made by Rebekah Brooks, former NOTW editor and former Chief Executive of News International. It references a letter Brooks sent to the committee in response to its questions:
We note that neither of these carefully-crafted responses is a categorical denial: Ms Brooks’s denial of knowledge of hacking is limited to her time as editor of News of the World; and on payments to police, she did not say that she had no knowledge of specific payments but that she had not intended to give the impression that she had knowledge of specific cases.
The Guardian counts nine other ongoing investigations into the sprawling allegations, including one by the police into the bribery allegations.
Read the full report here.