HACKGATE DAY 147: Newscorp hacking contagion spreads beyond the inclusion zone.

Brooks…..funny how the eyes follow you around the room

Wapping Liars forced to retreat into yet another muddy trench

Enter Piers Moron ‘The Insider’, enfant terrible of all chatterati

James Hanning has a great piece of sleuthing in today’s Independent on Sunday, in which he highlights that Murdoch’s 2004-6 Inclusion Zone of Apology is looking rather ricketty.

The paper’s Deputy Editor has obtained a dynamite quote from Andy Gilchrist, the former Fire Brigade Union leader, who confirms:

“I have seen papers in the police’s possession from the original Mulcaire haul [the private detective jailed for hacking royal aides’ phones] that strongly suggest my phone was hacked into. Further, these papers clearly are marked with dates relating to 2001, 2002 and 2003. I have written to formally request copies of this documentation from the police.”

The other terrific bit about this next stage of hacking epidemiology is that the culprit looks like the Murdoch Sun, not the equally Murdoch News of the World. The Sun ran a story headlined “Fire strike leader is a love cheat” during the first week of its editorship by…why, it’s that one-time recreational relaxation chum of the Prime Minister once again,  Rebekah Brooks – currently the CEO of News International, the company behind the Rupert Murdoch stable

Hannan’s piece notes that ‘News International has always vigorously denied, and continues to deny, that the unlawful activity extended beyond the News of the World’.  And having established that this seems highly unikely, James also manages to stick the ice-pick in by adding, ‘Other cases against the newspaper are also believed to lie outside the “inclusion zone”, including that of Ulrika Jonsson, formerly a columnist on the paper, and Jude Law. The police also have evidence that the phones of the parents of the Soham schoolgirl Jessica Chapman, murdered in August 2002, were hacked’.

This has fairly quickly forced the Wapping Liars to vacate yet another trench, and issue this corker of a response to the IoS piece:

 “We are aware there are potential claims against us from 2003. It was the principle of the apology that we made in April that was important, not the timescale.”

Ah right, so that’s what it was? So the 2004-6 thing was just….er, what exactly? I mean, was it there for no reason at all? Because if the timescale of something dubbed ‘2004-6’  in the April statement isn’t important, then what is – the limescale?

Meanwhile, more litigious Slog readers may have spotted a reference last month here to uncomfortable chat show hosts in America. Hanning’s piece today observes:

‘Jonathan Rees, a private investigator, had been employed by newspapers other than the News of the World – including the Daily Mirror – and had committed unlawful acts.’

Morgan having claimed responsibility for scooping the rest of Fleet Street about Cherie Blair’s pregnancy, Hanning’s piece also breaks a new development:

‘In a further twist, Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former press aide, last night sent Mr Morgan, who boasted of having broken the story of Cherie Booth’s pregnancy, a message via Twitter: “Congrats re pregnancy. Btw what exactly did Jonathan Rees give you for the thousands he got from Mirror re me, Peter M, etc?”‘

Ooooooh, it’s handbags at dawn dear. Meanwhile, the Slog’s prediction remains as solid as ever….the NotW, The Sun, Newscorp and even Fleet Street as  a whole are the tip of a ship-sinking iceberg. May God protect HMS Coalition, and all who sail close to the wind on her.