News Corp. Phone Hacking Believed to Target Tony Blair, Kate Middleton
A member of the U.K. Parliament urges police to expand the investigation, which he alleges that “powerful forces are attempting [to] cover-up.”
More high-powered victims of a wide-sweeping phone hacking scandal by News Corp. newspapers in the U.K. have been identified by the Guardian.
They include former prime minister Tony Blair, the Duchess of of Cambridge, Kate Middleton (when she was still dating Prince William), Prince Edward, the former commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir John Stevens and the current assistant commissioner, John Yates, who supervised the phone-hacking inquiry for 19 months.
Private investigator Jonathan Rees allegedly charged News of the World 150,000 pounds a year (about $246,000 U.S.) for information he gleaned from illegally tapping into phone lines, according to the Guardian. He is also accused of burglary and of working with a computer hacker to steal government information in 2006. According to the Guardian, he was commissioned by News of the World executive editor Alex Marunchak to hack into British intelligence officer Ian Hurst's computer.
Earlier this week, Sienna Miller won a 100,000 pound award (about $164,000 U.S.) from the News of the World for hacking into her cell phone. Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, George Michael and the family of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, have also been identified by the Guardian as victims of the phone-hacking scandal.
Labour party parliament member Tom Watson on Wednesday called on the Metropolitan police to expand its investigation. In a statement addressed to current Prime Minster David Cameron, he said, "Prime minister, powerful forces are attempting a cover-up. Pease tell me what you intend to do, to make sure this doesn't happen."
A News International spokesperson said on Wednesday: "It is well documented that Jonathan Rees and Southern Investigations worked for a whole variety of newspaper groups. With regards to Tom Watson's specific allegations, we believe these are wholly inaccurate. The Met police, with whom we are co-operating fully in Operation Weeting, have not asked us for any information regarding Jonathan Rees. We note again that Tom Watson MP made these allegations under parliamentary privilege."