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Evening Standard journalist was taped talking about phone hacking

Robert Peston | 18:15 UK time, Tuesday, 1 February 2011

If you click here, you'll get to the famous New York Times expose of phone hacking by the News of the World.

Evening Standard headquarters

On this web page, four paragraphs down on the left hand side, there is a link to a tape recording of a conversation between the private detective, Glenn Mulcaire (who was jailed for his role in attempting to access the voicemail of royal aides) and an unidentified journalist.

The conversation is pretty extraordinary. In it, Mr Mulcaire gives detailed instructions to the journalist about how to hack into the mobile phone of Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, so that the journalist can listen to "three messages from Tottenham" (the North London football club).

Now there has been some interest in the identity of the journalist - and, in particular, where the journalist was working at the time.

A while back, the Independent suggested that the journalist may have been working at the Evening Standard when the conversation took place. That is the case.

At the time of the phone call with Mr Mulcaire, the journalist was working for the Evening Standard, which was then owned by Daily Mail and General Trust (and is now owned by the Russian billionaire, Alexander Lebedev). 

So to state the blooming obvious, the tape recording suggests that journalists outside of the News of the World and News International - which has so far been the focus of police investigations into hacking - were taking an interest in hacking.

Needless to say, the tape recording does not prove that the journalist actually hacked Gordon Taylor's phone. And for what it's worth, the journalist when interviewed by his current employer - which, as chance would have it, is News International - denied wrongdoing.

In 2009, the journalist moved to the Times, which is owned by News International.

When the tape was put on the internet by the New York Times in September 2010, the journalist disclosed to News International that he was the person talking to Mr Mulcaire on the tape.

He also told News International that he was talking to Mr Mulcaire in his role as an Evening Standard  journalist, although there is no evidence that his conversation with Mr Mulcaire led to any story being published by the Evening Standard.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Poor old Robert. Everyone moans and groans when he won't stop talking about banks. When he does stop; no one is interested.

    This story will run and run with too many questions that could be asked and soooo many that won't (or can't) be answered

  • Comment number 2.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 3.

    Robert Peston doesn't have his eye on Banking today. I suspect he caught the "all is well" bug from Davos !!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Dirty tricks. What are newshounds to do if there is no news?
    The truth is out there. Dirt. It just needs finding. By any means. Any.
    And then spread it about. Legitimize it. Job done.
    What would we do without them?

  • Comment number 5.

    #1 No, I think a lot who only log on at school/uni/work would have gone home by then :-)

    Regarding this, what is the difference between a phone being hacked and information being leaked as both are supposed to be confidential. And look at the NR leak ramifications....

  • Comment number 6.

    The BBC has its loves and hates doesn't it.

    Are there any business stories out there that don't involve wicked bankers (getting boring) or News International (naked BBC self interest).

    I would like to see more on the implications of the current wave of unrest in the Middle East for the world economy - any chance?

  • Comment number 7.

    Are we saying that insider dealing is going on, but not on a consensual basis?

    Who knew, and when, that GWB would backtrack on his declared intention to legitimise hitherto clandestine Hispanic immigration, arguably bursting the low-end US property bubble and turning sub-prime into junk? It seems a few were keen to unload this stuff out of the US at any price...

  • Comment number 8.

    What does this have to do with business? Journalism (media) and Crime (maybe)- no business content.

  • Comment number 9.

    Yawn, not only the NOTW - no one really though it was did they. This story is nigh on 5 months old, scrapping the barrel really.

    Any thoughts Robert on the loss of probably 150 million plus annual income to the economy of a small town in Kent. Think perhaps it has some interesting questions to raise of government business policy or contrast that that areas enterprise company which may need now has just been scrapped?

    No, well always another banking story for tomorrow then.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This is an important news story and could have implications for the whole media industry.

    I am not sure why people complain so much here!

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree 1000 percent with 11.

  • Comment number 13.

    As far as I'm aware the Police took the view that a message was only intercepted if it hadn't already been read (and not deleted) by the intended recipient.
    An analogy would be the postman reading your mail as he walks down the path before he posts it and a burglar reading your opened mail that you left on the kitchen table, the former is interception the latter is not.

    However I'm pretty sure that accessing voicemail without authorisation is an offence under the Mis-Use of Computers Act (unauthorised access) as all voicemail systems are digital and held on computer.

    (as an aside, if any of the phone co.s servers or their mirrors are located in the US then the perps would also be in breach of Homeland Security regulations, the prospect of a trip to gitmo via unpleasant spa locations would probably help loosen tongues)

    #8 haufdeed, this has a lot to do with business, how many of the people on Mulcaires list were not D list 'celebs' but potential business targets ?

    This thing is much bigger than just a scandal rag scoop, if there was/is incompetence at the Yard then lessons need to be learned, if there was/is corruption (and there is no reason to think that is the case) then it needs rooting out.




  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with the sentiment in #11, but I am appalled at the abuse of mathematics with football style hyperbole in #12. 100% is all you have to give, after that it's nonsense, counter-informative and inflationary. 'I expect better from the BBC'.

    I'm not a big fan of percentages used to describe the steepness of an incline either,
    1 in 6 is so easy to understand in a way that 16.7% just isn't.

    Wrong blog?

  • Comment number 15.

    Robert - you apparently have a line into News International would you mind asking Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade) the following question.

    During your time as editor of the News of the World and/or the Sun were you at any time aware of any employee or contractor accessing the mobile phones of third parties without their consent?

    Why is it no-one will ask her this question?

  • Comment number 16.

    11. At 22:28pm on 1st Feb 2011, Michaeluk12 wrote:
    This is an important news story and could have implications for the whole media industry.

    I am not sure why people complain so much here!

    =========================

    If you actually read what is written in the blog - it is a rehash of information all of which has been revealed by various newspapers - as far back as September last year.

    It is not new and therefore not news - in the overall story is serves no useful purpose IMHO.
    Were it the first revelation confirming wider media industry involvement e.g. revealing TV news journalist possible involvement or involvement of the broadsheet end of the paper market rather than the tabloid then it would have some value in the overall story. It doesn't.

  • Comment number 17.

    9 and others - its a blog. Its like jottings for a story, a bit more than thinking out loud. But I would like to know more about Pfizer, recent governments and the City have between them flogged off or hollowed out every big company in the UK, we're presumably now going to watch them and the companies that moved here during the Cold War go over the horizon with all the intellectual property, R&D, patents...

  • Comment number 18.



    14. At 03:29am on 2nd Feb 2011, neilmurg wrote:
    I agree with the sentiment in #11, but I am appalled at the abuse of mathematics with football style hyperbole in #12. 100% is all you have to give, after that it's nonsense, counter-informative and inflationary. 'I expect better from the BBC'.

    I'm not a big fan of percentages used to describe the steepness of an incline either,
    1 in 6 is so easy to understand in a way that 16.7% just isn't.

    Wrong blog?
    ==============================================================

    I agree with you 1100 percent.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why the surprise all journalists are probably "at it". Like bankers they all feed and move in the same sad and self deliuded circles where white lies are accepted as the common currency of their trade.

    Too bad that even getting access to the source data does not make their reporting more accurate!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Robert, Have you ever considered the following points and thought to investigate them.

    1. How many people leave messages that actually reveal anything substantive in them? Three messages to Gordon Taylor from Tottenham. What would they be "Please call me back?"

    2. If anyone wanted to leak a story without getting the flack surely if they knew phone hacking was taking place they would use this as a means to an end. Particularly if they were to inform the journalist that they were leaving an important message on the message service of a particulalr person. Three messages to Gordon Taylor from Tottenham "Hi Gordon just wanted to tell you that we are going to sign David Beckham, please call me back?"

    I believe there is more to this phone hacking than simply journalists trying to make stories, I believe it goes much deeper and is part of a deliberate leakage system that gets people off the hook.

    Any comments?

  • Comment number 21.

    Well that really stirred everyone up, didn't it?

 

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