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Is Murdoch’s Man-in-Downing-Street above the law?

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From The Guardian

The government tonight came under pressure to set up a judicial inquiry into the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World after the paper confirmed that it has suspended a journalist while it investigates new allegations of the unlawful interception of voicemail.

The prime minister’s media adviser, Andy Coulson, has denied a report in the New York Times which claimed he freely discussed the use of unlawful news-gathering techniques when he was editing the paper and “actively encouraged” a named reporter to engage in illegal interception of voicemail messages. Coulson has always denied knowing of any illegal activity by his journalists.

Scotland Yard, too, found itself in the firing line after the New York Times quoted unnamed detectives alleging they had cut short their investigation because of their close relationship with the News of the World. A group of four public figures, including former deputy prime minister John Prescott, is poised to sue police over a failure to warn them they had been targeted by the private investigator at the centre of the scandal, Glenn Mulcaire.

The Guardian has learned that the Metropolitan police commissioner at the time of the original investigation, Sir Ian Blair, was among those whose names were found in material seized from Mulcaire, raising questions about whether officers who were directly involved in the investigation had discovered that they, too, had been targets of the newspaper. It is understood Blair was assured at the time that his phone had not been hacked.

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Written by Richard Wilson

September 3, 2010 at 6:35 am

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