HACKGATE: A murky Mail past the new Telegraph team wants to forget.

Why was the Information Commissioner’s 2006 Report ignored?

Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher: 58 Mail journalists used illegal surveillance services on his watch.

This morning, the Observer (and Guardian website) focus on investor nerves at the way Newscorp’s grip on the phone-hacking is loosening by the hour. The Independent on Sunday has a story strongly suggesting that emails surveyed by the Met Police last week have clearly fingered Ian Edmondson as being in on the practices taking place.

But in the Daily Telegraph, there is (as the police often say) ‘nothing to see’. No story anywhere on the main Home page refers to the scandal. Apart from one small comedic piece, there is nothing under ‘Comment’, and except for a three-day-old guest post about why Brendan O’Neill hates phone-hack complainant Tessa Jowell (don’t we all), the blogs are a Hackgate-free zone.

Last week, The Slog posted about the shadowy Barclay Brothers, their decision to hire, mob-handed, most of the Daily Mail’s former news floor….and the apparent lack of interest shown by their newly down-dumbed Daily Telegraph in the growing discomfort of Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

At the time, my main angle was the suggestion that this was no more than the
Ugly (proprietor) Sisters sticking together. But now I’m not so sure.

There’s an interesting table in the What Price Privacy report from the Privacy Commissioner in May 2006 – following the original Newscorp conviction. It records the use of private investigators of similar ilk to the ghastly Mulchaire by other UK national newspapers.In section 5.7, the ICO report observes that the services supplied to the national media

‘….included details of criminal records, registered keepers of vehicles, driving licence details, ex-directory telephone numbers, itemised telephone billing and mobile phone records, and details of ‘Friends & Family’ telephone numbers.’

Equally clear is that the information was almost always obtained with the help of corrupt policemen.

Way, way ahead at the top of this list is….well I never, The Daily Mail – with no fewer than 952 uses of these reptiles by a staggering 58 journalists.

Even the News of the World (with 228 uses by 23 journalists) lags far behind – although it is surely worth noting that 23 journalists is 22 journalists more than ‘one rogue reporter’.

Why didn’t somebody over the last five years show this ICO report to Prime Minister David Cameron? Even allowing for Dave’s legendary short attention span, it would be hard to escape the conclusion that Coulson’s defence was more waterlogged than watertight.

Anyway, the main point remains very clear to me: does it not strike one as extremely unlikely that, of the 58 Mail journalists partaking of murky electronic surveillance services, not one of them transferred with the gravy-train to the Barclay Bros Telegraph? And does this go any way at all towards explaining the Telegraph’s lack of enthusiasm for the chase re this one?

Footnote. Some more highlights from that Commissioner Table – suggesting that Fleet Street might well be in trouble from end to end. The first figure is the total number of contracts handed out to surveillance companies…the second is the number of hacks fine upstanding journalists involved:

Sunday People 802 50
Daily Mirror 681 45
Mail on Sunday 266 33
Sunday Mirror 143 25
Best Magazine 134 20
Evening Standard 130 1
The Observer 103 4

Does make you wonder who the sole mainliner was at the Standard.

8 thoughts on “HACKGATE: A murky Mail past the new Telegraph team wants to forget.

  1. Amazing.
    Nobody has anything to say about the biggest government-media-police plot since Watergate.
    Could it be that the Slog’s comment threads at the Telegraph have been censored?
    Surely not.
    JW

  2. The MoS and ST are virtually silent.Yet the language of corruption and fraud that was Tunisa,Egypt,Yemen and Oman oooze from the very papers without the slightest hint of irony!Those lovely lamp posts around parliament may have a use sometime soon,with the cheerleaders being the very hackests who should be on the dole.The level of corruption and fraud are now in excess of Tunisa,you think our fraud banks are no better than thieving governments,and the anger is palpable amongst us plebs?This is not a healthy recipe and thins will only get much worse in reality.

  3. Just discovered your excellent blog from, of all places, The Daily Telegraph’s website!! Just saw one of your comments from a story back in December about Andy Coulson.

    What is so unbelievable about all of this and how the British tabloid press do their ‘reporting’ is the many good stories they could write without having to hire a private investigator. For instance, most of the British press owe me a right of reply after I was defamed by the nasty partner of one of Britain’s richest men, Bruno Schroder of Schroders plc.

    Rather than get a right of reply, I then started getting libeled. I am sure it was all planned. When I finally convinced Richard Kay of The Daily Mail to give me a right of reply, I got libeled all over again, courtesy of his freelancer, Rory Knight-Bruce.

    It got so bad, I submitted a Memorandum about it to the same Parliamentary Select Committee that was trying to get to the bottom of the phone-hacking scandal. The comment from Maria above is spot on. I could not believe what was happening to me in a supposedly democratic society:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmcumeds/memo/press/ucps3902.htm

    • Elaine
      When I suggested Gordon Brown was on antidepressants and going blind in Sept 2009, I was libelled in turn by the Guardian, the Independent, Mandelson, Balls, Bradshawe and Campbell. All very flattering, but showing once more that the Law in Britain exists to frighten the weak and protect the rich.
      PSCs are a waste of space – egomanic politicians trying to get their soundbites in: look at the justified contempt with which Bob Diamond treated them. Pathetic.
      Richard Kay (and most of the Mail news staff) are unpleasant beyond belief. Did you know that they used dodgey phone-hacking ‘private detectives’ even more than the NoW did? Most of them have now been attracted to the Telegraph by the Barclay Bros moneysacks…hence the descent of the Torygraph towards the gutter.
      The Coulson scandal is far from over.

  4. John, thanks for your reply. All truly shocking. As an American from Massachusetts, I find this just unbelievable. It is really salt in the wound while surrounded by revolutionary monuments. This is why there was an American Revolution!

  5. Pingback: HACKGATE: Sitcom, farce and political thriller as the scandal spreads « The Slog

  6. Pingback: HACKGATE, Day 54: Hacking is NOT just a Newscorp phenomenon. | The Slog

  7. Pingback: HACKGATE DAY 84: Telegraph and Mail remain news-free zones. | The Slog

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