21 Jul 2011

UPDATED EX DAILY TELEGRAPH WILL LEWIS ORCHESTRATED LEAK FOR NI/ Met police to investigate mobile tracking claims

Exclusive: News Corp executive suspected of "orchestrating" leak

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Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News International (C), her husband Charlie Brooks (L) and the group general manager of News International, Will Lewis, leave the Stafford Hotel in central London July 10, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris
LONDON | Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:34am EDT
(Reuters) - A leading private investigations firm said it had strong reason to suspect that Will Lewis, a senior executive of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, was involved in "orchestrating" a leak of material from a competing news organization which helped Murdoch's business interests.
Kroll, one of the world's biggest corporate investigations firm, was hired by London's Telegraph Media Group, a competitor of Murdoch's London-based News International, to find out who had leaked unpublished excerpts of a secret audio recording that Telegraph reporters had made of Britain's Business secretary, Vince Cable.
The investigation firm says in a report, prepared for the Telegraph last March, that it could not categorically identify the source of the leak. One main reason for this, Kroll said, was that the Telegraph Media Group's information security systems were too porous and too many people had access to the relevant systems for the leaker to be pinpointed.
A News International spokesman did not respond to a request from Reuters seeking comment from Lewis.
Kroll advised the Telegraph that because of the number of people who had access to data banks - including employees for telecoms giant, BT, to whom the Telegraph outsourced technical support functions - that even if the leak investigation continued, it was unlikely to produce a conclusive result.
However, Kroll investigators say in the report that they have strong reason to suspect that Will Lewis, a former chief editor at the Daily Telegraph and by late 2010 a senior executive at News International, was involved in facilitating the leak, along with another former Telegraph employee who also later moved to News International.
In the Telegraph recording, first reported by the BBC, Cable said that he had "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch. At the time, in December 2010, Cable was responsible for deciding whether the government should allow Murdoch to acquire the 61 percent of U.K. satellite broadcaster BSkyB the media magnate did not already own.
As a result of the leak, Cable was stripped of his responsibility for the BSkyB deal and the Telegraph faced awkward questions about why it did not publish Cable's anti-Murdoch comments itself. The Telegraph hired Kroll to investigate how the suppressed Cable material had leaked out.
Lewis, who earlier this year became one of News International's most senior executives, more recently became a key member of News Corporation's management and standards committee which is overseeing efforts to deal with the phone hacking and bribery scandal that has shaken Murdoch's media empire. Kroll did not interview Lewis during the course of its investigation.
A spokesman for News International's management and standards committee told Reuters he would not comment directly on the contents of the Kroll report and that "any inquiries for the BBC should go to the BBC." News International did not respond to requests for a comment from Lewis and others named in the report. Spokespeople for New York-based News Corporation and its chairman Rupert Murdoch did not reply to emailed requests for comment.
A BBC spokeswoman told Reuters that it would not reveal its source. Representatives from the Telegraph had no immediate comment. Vince Cable did not respond to requests for comment. Kroll refused to comment.
Reuters is a competitor of the Journal and of Dow Jones Newswires, the financial news agency that News Corp acquired along with the Wall Street Journal in 2007.
The Kroll report details the lead up to and fall out from the leak.
"We have established that on 9 December, the circle of knowledge of an impending 'big story' by the same team who broke (a major political story about British parliamentary expenses) extended to ... a former Telegraph employee now employed by News International ... (who) works closely at News International with the former Telegraph editor Will Lewis, both of whom have strong motivations to damage the Telegraph," Kroll's report says. "In the period between 9 and 21 December there was extensive telephone, text and social contact between (the former Telegraph employee), Lewis, and individuals within the authorized circle of knowledge," the report continues. The private investigators say they "believe it is more than likely that their knowledge of the big story grew. News International was the only media organization we identified as having extensive contacts with the authorized circle of knowledge during this period."
"Given their employment with News International, their antipathy toward the Telegraph, and their knowledge of the story, we have a strong suspicion that (the other former Telegraph employee) and Lewis were involved in orchestrating the leak of the information," Kroll's investigators said.
Kroll concluded "that it is likely that the leak was as a result of unauthorized access to TMG's systems, most probably from within the organization and by someone with admin rights to TMG's IT environment ... The copying of the audio file by either of these methods constitutes theft."
Kroll found that whoever was responsible for the leak "had to have the help of someone who could access the audio file." Kroll identified "one of the individuals who had the relevant Admin rights to access the file" as a computer help desk technician who shortly after Kroll began its investigation left the company. In an interview with Kroll investigators, the technician denied any involvement in the leak, according to the report. But the investigation company said that there were contradictions between a part of his story and that of another witness that led them to question his credibility.
Kroll said that prior to leaving the Telegraph group, the computer technician re-formatted his IPad, erasing all data on it, and cut up the SIM card on his IPhone. The technician told investigators he wiped out the data and his IPad because he wanted to give a "clean" device back to the Telegraph when he left the company.
An analysis of e-mail traffic to and from Telegraph offices by Kroll showed "extensive" contacts between people inside the Telegraph with knowledge of the full contents of the Telegraph's audio recording of Cable and people at News International. In the month the controversy became public there were 550 e-mails between Will Lewis, a former Telegraph employee and a senior journalist still at the Telegraph.
Kroll said that they had no reason to believe the Telegraph reporter in question was involved in the leak, but that it was possible that he inadvertently confirmed information about the Cable recording to his friends who worked for Murdoch.
Kroll investigators found that around 15 information technology personnel on the Telegraph staff had access rights to the data banks which contained the unpublished Cable audio. Because the Telegraph group outsourced some of its help desk functions to BT, up to 50 of the British telecommunications giant's employees also had theoretical access to the relevant servers, Kroll found.
Because so many people, including people outside the Telegraph group, had access to the section of the Cable audio which discussed Murdoch, Kroll advised the Telegraph that while it could eliminate several categories of potential leakers as suspects, the circle of people with possible access was too large to enable them to pinpoint the leakers for certain.
As a consequence, Kroll advised the Telegraph to halt the investigation because it was unlikely to produce a conclusive result.
After the recording of Cable's Murdoch remarks became public, media commentators speculated about whether News International personnel had somehow played a role in the leak, given Lewis' connections in both companies and his alleged close friendship with BBC journalist Robert Peston. It was Peston who first reported Cable's comments to the undercover Telegraph reporters.
The leak, which occurred just as government deliberations over whether Murdoch should be allowed to take over BSkyB were heating up, embarrassed Cable, a senior member of the Liberal Democrat party which is the junior party in Britain's coalition government.
It also embarrassed the Telegraph group, a major Murdoch competitor. Media critics suggested the newspaper had tried to suppress Cable's anti-Murdoch remarks because they might cause Cable to be taken off the BSkyB decision, which would not have been in the Telegraph's business interests.
The Kroll report notes that the closing price for BSkyB shares on December 1 last year was 721 British pence, but that by December 22 -- a day after Cable was stripped of responsibility for the BSkyB decision -- the broadcaster's shares had risen to 743 pence.
The government reassigned the BSkyB decision to another British Cabinet Minister, who had publicly indicated that he was likely to approve the acquisition. Government deliberations on BSkyB became moot this month after Murdoch abandoned his bid to acquire the balance of the broadcaster's shares in the wake of the phone hacking uproar.
(Editing by Simon Robinson and Ralph Boulton)
(Created by Simon Robinson)

Phone hacking: Met police to investigate mobile tracking claims

Whistleblower Sean Hoare claimed the News of the World would pay officers to illegally procure phone-tracking data
Scotland Yard
The Met police have been asked to guarantee they will investigate all cases where someone suspects a tabloid tracked their whereabouts using their mobile phone signal. Photograph: Felix Clay
Scotland Yard has been asked to inspect thousands of files that could reveal whether its officers unlawfully procured mobile phone-tracking data for News of the World reporters.
There were half a million requests by public authorities for communications data in the UK last year – of which almost 144,000 were demands for "traffic" data, which includes location.
A Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) member has asked the force to investigate allegations that News of the World reporters were able to purchase this data from police for £300 per request.
The claims were made by Sean Hoare, the News of the World whistleblower, days before he was found dead at his home on Monday. His disclosure about the purchase of illicit location data was first made to the New York Times, which said the practice was confirmed by a second source at the tabloid. Police have said Hoare's death was not suspicious.
Mobile phone location data, which is highly regulated, would give tabloid reporters access to a method of almost total surveillance, arguably even more intrusive than hacking into phone messages.
Jenny Jones, a Green party member of the MPA, has written to the commissioner requesting an audit of all cases where the Met obtained tracking data from mobile phone companies.
She has also asked the commissioner to guarantee that anyone with reason to suspect a tabloid may have gleaned their whereabouts from their mobile phone signal will have their case looked into.
Two police surveillance sources with knowledge of the system said location data was routinely used by police. Both said any corrupt purchase of information would require a fabricated request under theRegulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) and therefore the knowledge of a senior officer.
The Met and other forces have central databases where they record Ripa authorisations for audits by the interception of communications commissioner. Police are also compelled to keep Ripa authorisations files under the same rules that compel them to keep evidence connected to criminal investigations, which in some cases can mean paperwork is stored for decades.
Records are also kept by mobile phone providers, with at least one company maintaining an "indefinite" database of Ripa requests since 2009.
This detailed audit trail contrasts with the paucity of evidence in cases of phone hacking, due to the fact that records of phone activity are generally destroyed after 12 months.
The New York Times first reported that the News of the World may have had access to phone-tracking data last week, days before Hoare's death.
It said Hoare, a reporter who was sacked from the News International title in 2005, alleged that his editor Greg Miskiw could locate information about a person's precise whereabouts via their mobile phone number.
Hoare claimed that Miskiw had once helped him locate a person in Scotland, and said the information came from "the Old Bill".
The following day he told the Guardian that reporters would ask a news desk executive to obtain the location of a target: "Within 15 to 30 minutes someone on the news desk would come back and say: 'Right, that's where they are.'"
He added: "You would just go to the news desk and they would come back to you. You don't ask any questions. You would consider it a job done."
Hoare made no reference to which police force may have sold the data, although the Metropolitan police are currently investigating evidence that corrupt officers from within its ranks were selling information to the News of the World.
Mobile phone companies can provide police with real-time location information about the whereabouts of suspects or missing people at 15-minute intervals. More commonly, police request a "cell site dump", which gives a complete historical record of the whereabouts of person's mobile phone.
There are two ways the data is obtained. When a phone is used for a call or SMS message, details of its location are logged. Alternatively so-called "pinging" can be used when a phone is not in use, by sending the device signals and triangulating the results from cellphone masts. The level of accuracy ranges from a few hundred metres to around two kilometres, depending on proximity to the masts.
Mark Lewis, a solicitor who represents phone-hacking victims, said: "I have sources that I can't reveal who tell me they could do it [obtain the data]." He said he had clients who suspected they had been tracked: "One or two were very suspicious about how they had been found – simply because they were where they were not supposed to be."
If police want to monitor the contents of emails or calls to combat terrorism or serious crime they require a warrant from the home secretary.
Far more common however is the interception of communications data, which relates to the "who, where and when" of messages or calls. There is a complex framework through which the data is channelled from phone companies to police.
Phone companies provide data to "police liaison units" – funded by the Home Office – which contain a handful of people with maximum security clearance to deal with incoming requests.
Police in turn have special points of contact (Spocs), who liaise with the mobile phone companies and process the requests.
They are trained and accredited by the National Policing Improvement Agency and given unique pin numbers. There are almost 600 accredited Spocs in police forces on a nationwide register maintained by theAssociation of Chief Police Officers.
Under Ripa, these gatekeepers require detailed justifications from a senior officer to request phone information as part of an investigation, in a process that can take up to ten days. In emergencies, senior police can request the information orally, but paperwork is retrospectively filed centrally.
Anyone who suspects their phone was inappropriately tracked is able request details from police or their phone provider under the Data Protection Act.


viv said...

Aside from the obvious that this technology was obviously being used in Portugal to follow the movements of the TAPAS group, two things spring to mind.

Just how organised were they when they arranged to have other mobile phones delivered to them within a day or so of Maddie disappearing off the radar?

Who placed a tracking device on the bottom of Murat's car, was it Rebekah the paedophile hunter?

viv said...

I just hope she gets charged with attempts to seriously pervert the course of justice.

viv said...

In a case of extreme bad timing, News of the World staff are sacked and then James goes before the Select Committee.

If you are prepared to brazen out a lie and think there is no evidence to challenge you, then that is what some people will do. James insists he did not see that "for Neville" email confirming Taylor's phone had been hacked, he just approved what ultimately increased to a massive £700,000 compensation figure for him because he was told it was "for legal reasons".

Now that the sacked editor and lawyer have both come out to call him a blatant liar, by confirming they did of course show him that email, what will he do now. It confirms there was always a coverup of phone hacking that went right to the very top. So stop trying to look like an honest executive who does not even ask questions when staff suggest he pay out nearly a million in damages (a bit of a useless twit) and be what you are James, a dishonest useless twit. I do not rate your future chances in the corporate world either here or in the States, Australia neither. In short mate, you are finished!

viv said...

The best James can hope for IMO, is that the Americans do not nab all of Daddy's massive business assets. Then he can at least live of dad's money, but even that hardly seems likely to happen now. Poor James, lol!

Di said...

Hi Viv

Apologies, I cannot read any of the above so I will have to just go off your comments and what I read today in the news.

I think James has dug himself a hole, which imo is getting deeper. This is not going to go away and nor should it. If we don't get him the US will. I have read that ex NOTW staff will not give up until they see the Murdoch's penniless and accountable. Interestingly, many of them are standing together to get justice, and who can blame them.

I think we will see much more coming out in the very near future.

viv said...

Phone hacking inquiry judge attended parties at home of Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law
The judge in charge of the phone hacking inquiry has attended parties at the home of Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law.

Lord Justice Leveson was appointed by Mr Cameron last week and will be able to call any journalist, politician or proprietor, raising the possibility that Rupert Murdoch could face further questions Photo: PA
By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor9:19PM BST 22 Jul 201113 Comments
Lord Justice Leveson went to two parties in the past year at the London home of Matthew Freud, a PR executive married to Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of Rupert Murdoch widely tipped to be her father’s successor.
MPs said last night that Lord Leveson’s social connections to News Corp raised questions about his impartiality and suitability to lead the inquiry.
The judge was appointed by Mr Cameron last week and will be able to call any journalist, politician or proprietor, raising the possibility that Rupert Murdoch could face further questions. It emerged yesterday that Lord Leveson, while chairman of the Sentencing Council that advises the Government on punishing criminals, met Mr Freud at a dinner in February last year in an Oxford University college.
The pair discussed how to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Mr Freud then offered to provide some staff from his company Freud Communications to work for nothing advising the council on how to raise confidence in sentencing. This resulted in Lord Leveson attending two parties at Mr Freud’s London home, in July last year and last January. His attendance was approved by Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice.
Hacking: police launch Coulson investigation 22 Jul 2011
I'm starting to think that the Left might actually be right 22 Jul 2011
Phone hacking: what is 'pinging'? 22 Jul 2011
Blow to Rupert Murdoch as Foxtel deal derailed 22 Jul 2011
Royal family's lawyers investigated over phone hacking scandal 22 Jul 2011
Twitter row between BBC's Peston and Tom Watson 22 Jul 2011
The statement said: “In his capacity as Chairman of the Sentencing Council, and with the knowledge of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Leveson attended two large evening events at Mr Freud’s London home: these were on July 29, 2010, and January 25, 2011.”
Lord Leveson’s spokesman declined to say whether the judge had met any of the Murdoch family at the parties.
In May last year, two Sentencing Council staff met a member of Mr Freud’s company in the reception area. There were no further meetings.
Lord Leveson’s office insisted that David Cameron had been informed of the judge’s attendance at the parties and had not raised any objections.
Lord Leveson’s office continued: “Lord Justice Leveson was not involved in that meeting and he has neither met nor spoken to anyone from Freud Communications since January 2011.
“There is, in any event, no continuing relationship. Prior to his appointment to the inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson ensured that these matters were brought to the attention of the Prime Minister.”
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who has been campaigning on phone hacking, said the news “makes it very difficult to see how Lord Justice Leveson can be seen to be independent because in practice he will have to bend over backwards to have a go at Murdoch or be accused of giving him an easy time”.
“If this had been known from the start it might be fine – as with every step, transparency has come by dragging it out of them.”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “Lord Justice Leveson was appointed on the recommendation of the Lord Chief Justice in line with the procedure set out in the Enquiries Act 2005.”
The 62-year-old judge became head of the Sentencing Council last year after serving as Lord Justice of Appeal since October 2006. He was educated at Liverpool College and Merton College, Oxford.

viv said...

Hiya Di

I am sorry you cannot read the blog main post.

It is with a sense of just complete disgust that I read the above report in the Telegraph.

It seems to me James is expendable because LONDON based Elisabeth is set to take over the company. I think that regardless of what happens in the States Cameron & Co will do everything withing their power, which is pretty limitless to protect the fabulously wealthy Matthew Freud and his even wealthier wife.

Cameron was just too quick, too keen, on appointing a judge to conduct an inquiry and Murdoch and son rather pointedly said they would attend to give evidence before the judge, not the Select Committee.

So what do we now read about Lord Leveson? He was attending parties at the Freuds. So Murdoch knew he would get a very friendly hearing from him.

Freud is of course the boss of Clarence Mitchell.

Does this look anything like justice? From where I am standing, no it does not, it looks like the corruption within the tory party is every bit as bad as it has historically been, they will literally stop at nothing to protect the wealthy and therefore the powerful.

The concept of tame judges to head up so called inquiries to shut the public up really does make me sick!

Tony Blair also mastered this technique.

I hope that the Labour politicians, assisted by an odd ally, the right wing but anti Murdoch Telegraph do kick up such an almighty stink about this Cameron has to do away with his tame judge and also his job. He is the most undeserving and corrupt candidate one could imagine. To think just a month or so back I was thinking of giving him the benefit of the doubt, I really should have known better!

Clarence Mitchell works for these people and mixes in those circles, the McCanns are themselves becoming wealthy. What does this say for justice for Maddie? I still hope they will be scapegoated and London Met are now a lot cleaner and will do a good job, but I am so mistrusting now.

I hope Cameron wakes up and realises we are not all completely stupid and taking his right wing manipulation as the gospel.

viv said...

This comment is amusing, it must be true if Gerry posted it on his blog, I mean he would not start any myths or rumours now would he! Neither would his PR men either, I am certain of it, oh and I just saw a psychedelic pig fly across the night sky it was all glowing an lovely.

Strange to me that some folk think, erm, apparently, that what Gerry and his media friends print is the truth, I would tend to think the complete opposite would be more likely. So he implies Kate killed Maddie and he hid her body in a fridge, ummm, well he is smart enough to know that rumours are not a problem, he cannot be prosecuted for those, but he can get real rich on them.

Still the peasants buy it and if they do not, they can always be banned for having a mind of their own.

docmac Yesterday at 11:38 pm

maebee wrote:

Please someone explain what this is all about? I haven't heard about any of this.

whats all the fridge business?[/quote]

Don't go there Loop :) Another Forum myth. Forget about it.[/quote]

It could hardly be a myth when the Gerrymeister posted the info on his own blog now could it?

viv said...

In spite all the silly protestations about what Goncalo Amaral is supposedly going to do next (you know counter sue the arse of Kate and Gerry McCann), he has done the same as what the McCanns are currently doing, just shut up. Lots of team work going on. All funded by Maddie McCann and a cutesy faked image.

How is it the McCanns lawyer seems to just know she can get away with not returning his books? It is an enduring feature of this case that people who are supposedly on opposite sides have this divine insight.

viv said...

The McCanns are very good at starting a litigation process, but they never finish one do they? That is not what they are about. Luckily for Tony Bennett.

viv said...

I am extremely saddened to hear about Amy Winehouse being found dead at her home this afternoon.

She had demons and could not work them out, what a waste of such a talented young woman.

RIP Amy, you were brilliant!