In a nutshell, the story goes thus: in 2007 the News of the World's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and a private investigator he hired were jailed for illegally intercepting the private phone messages of eight people. Among these were Princes Harry and William. The allegation was that this was only the iceberg's tip, and the practice was endemic throughout tabloid journalism, hordes of journalists were up to it, and there were many more victims whose privacy had been invaded illegally - up to 3000 is the figure I have seen quoted, a bit more than eight. However, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service didn't take the investigation further. The conclusion being that Goodman was a rogue who acted alone, without consent from his superiors, and it stopped and ended with him. The more cynical pointed out the traditional close links between the NOTW and the police. The paper has a history of exposing people and turning their files over to the cops. Perhaps someone in Scotland Yard didn't want to jeopardise that relationship? The even more cynical wondered whether the Yard weren't just terrified of Rupert Murdoch and how vituperative his media organisations can be when faced with any sort of criticism.
The New York Times appears to have evidence that the police did not share all the evidence it had with the Crown Prosecution Service, the inference being that if it had the CPS would have reached a different conclusion and more arrests might have been made. It is also emerging that hundreds of people whose phones were hacked into were never told about it by the police. Meanwhile, while all this went on. the self-regulatory newspaper watchdog - though lapdog would be more appropriate, given some of the board who adjudicate are editors who pronounce on their own newspapers - sat on its hands and said, while it deplored the practice of phone hacking, the matter had been dealt with, and there was little else it could do.
Dan - Friday