By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — British lawmakers have released a letter from a former employee of the “News of the World” saying phone hacking was “widely discussed” at the now-shuttered tabloid.
Clive Goodman, the paper’s former royal editor who was jailed for hacking in 2007, also alleged that ex-editor Andy Coulson, who went on to become Prime Minister David Cameron’s media chief, tried to cover up the scandal.
The letter released by parliament’s media committee directly contradicts claims by owner Rupert Murdoch’s top aides, who repeatedly claimed that they were unaware of the hacking and that Goodman was a rogue reporter.
Allegations of widespread hacking at Murdoch’s News Corp’s British newspaper arm forced the company to close the 168-year-old “News of the World” and accept the resignation of two of its most senior newspaper executives.
The committee recalled four former Murdoch executives to testify on September 6 and said it may also recall James Murdoch, the tycoon’s son, over alleged inconsistencies in his testimony at an earlier hearing in July.
James and Rupert Murdoch gave evidence to the committee on July 19 at which they denied responsibility for what they suggested was a failure of subordinates.
Former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks, who edited the “News of The World” during the years some of the most serious hacking activities are said to have taken place, expressed regret over the misdeeds and admitted to knowing that the tabloid used private investigators in its efforts to find information for stories.