Parliament Criticizes 'Deliberate Attempts' by News Corp. to Thwart Phone Hacking Probe

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NEW YORK - A day after the testimony of News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and son and deputy COO James Murdoch in the phone hacking scandal, a parliamentary panel investigating the situation on Wednesday accused the company's News International unit in the U.K. of "deliberate attempts" to thwart its probe, the New York Times reported.

In a scathing report, the panel also said "we deplore the response of News International to the original investigation into hacking" and argued that the police investigations had been a "catalog of failures."

Also, Prime Minister David Cameron in a special session of Parliament defended his role in the crisis, including a government review of a planned News Corp. deal and the fact that former News Corp. employee and editor of the News of the World tabloid Andy Coulson served as his director of communications.

He said there was no breach of regulations when the British government reviewed the $12 billion bid by News Corp., which it has since withdrawn, to take full control of satellite giant BSkyB. Cameron said he had had no "inappropriate conversations" with News Corp. executives about the bid.

Coulson, currently under arrest in the scandal, resigned in January. "I regret and I am extremely sorry about the furor it as caused," Cameron said in distancing himself from his former aide, according to the Times. "With hindsight I would not have offered him the job."

But he defended Coulson's work for him and emphasized he must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Ed Miliband, head of the opposition Labour Party, argued that Cameron's position had been compromised by his association with Coulson.

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