HACKGATE DAY 73: Slog prediction vindicated as Newscorp suddenly rediscovers millions of ‘lost’ emails.

NotW dam bursts in face of judicial pressure

Coulson….nowhere to hide?

Coulson, Brooks and others now staring down barrel of justice

Sooner or later, even those with the ear of the Powers that Be must bow to the Rule of Law. Yesterday, The Slog reported on the basis of trusted sources as follows:

‘I understand that painfully informal judge-on-defence-counsel action in chambers some weeks back made it clear that, were these e’s not to surface, other more objective IT forensics would start digging on their own account.’

Today,  millions of emails dating back to the 2005-6 period – described by The Guardian as  ‘amounting to half a terabyte of data’ – have miraculously been re-found by Newscorp geeks. Whereas Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods could display double-jointed gymnastics to accidentally erase miles of non-digital audio tape, in 2011 it is virtually impossible to permanently wipe a pc’s hard-drive.

Tomorrow, John Yates – acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police – will be quizzed by Parliament on the subject of his ’10-12 victims’ in the light of this new ‘find’. But to be fair to Yates, he could hardly have guessed at the ingenuity of Newscorp techies once they were pressed hard enough by the judiciary. All we can note at this point is that the DPP’s Keir Starmer has once again gone on the record to confirm that his department “never accepted Yates’ narrow definition of illegal surveillance”.

The Slog is gratified to see the DPP, the CPS and the Police arguing amongst themselves about the fundamental nature of crime, but even more delighted to observe how a Judge has – at last – told Newscorp “I don’t give a monkeys who your friends are…..find the emails, or things will get even nastier”. It is, in effect, the equivalent of the FBI subpoena of the Nixon tapes: tapes which, just by the deletion of expletives, spelt the end of Dicky’s Presidency.

We must be clear about one thing: the admission by Newscorp that it has these e’s – whose existence was denied under oath by the editor of the Scottish edition of the News of the World Bob Bird at the trial of Tommy Sheridan last year – is tantamount to an acceptance that the use of illegal phone-hacking was no ‘tiny minority’ activity at the NotW. Murdoch’s propaganda machine may argue that this shows it has ‘nothing to hide’, but the reality is that only two possibilities now remain once the emails are analysed: (1) a broad spectrum of Newscorp employees will be implicated; or (2) the e’s will reveal no further guilt….in which case questions will immediately start to be asked about whether rather more than expletives have been deleted from the archive.

This latter outcome is unlikely. The more mature view must now be that the Murdoch clan has accepted the need for wholesale human sacrifice alongside a clear denial of any knowledge by the family of wrongdoing at the time. Effectively, this ‘discovery’ is a death-knell for Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks, and a wide range of other existing or former Newscorp journalists.

But further pressure to reverse the BSkyB takeover decision must surely be an additional by-product of this latest twist in the tale. While the Rupert-James-Elizabeth axis will argue that its hands are clean, most other Fleet Street titles will hunt for any and all signs that they were anything but.

All, perhaps, except the Daily Telegraph. One wonders how those who made the get-rich-quick journey from Dacre’s Mail to the Barclays’ Telgraph are feeling tonight.