29 February 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 3

Lord Justice Leveson
"The focus of the Inquiry is ‘the culture, practices and ethics of the press’ in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians. All of these matters overlap, and my goal must be to consider what lessons, if any, may be learned from past events and what recommendations, if any, should be made for the future, in particular as regards press regulation, governance and other systems of oversight."

Module 2

"The relationship between the press and the police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest."

Useful Links:
Leveson Inquiry Witness Statements HERE 
Leveson Inquiry Witness Lists HERE 
Video Recordings of each day's proceedings HERE
Live Feed From Leveson Inquiry Site HERE
BBC Democracy Live Feed HERE 
Telegraph Live Blog HERE
Guardian Live Blog HERE
Links to today's articles, blogs, comment and information relevant to the Leveson Inquiry:

  • From Guardian Live Blog:
    Rupert Murdoch as just made a surprise intervention into the debate about the Metropolitan police's admission that it loaned Rebekah Brooks a police horse:
    Tom Watson MP has responded to Rupert Murdoch's tweet:
  • Lord Sugar has responded to Rupert Murdoch's tweet about the Rebekah Brooks horse story:

Daniel Morgan Murder:   
  • From MagsNews:
    PMQs Ed Mili asks about inquiry - Sue Akers allegations into collusion

  • From Jo Rourke:  
  • Miliband & Cameron agreeing on but PM won't be drawn on Gove's comments

I'm with Alastair Morgan. His brother was murdered 25 years this March 10th. There's a debate at 4pm. Nothing else can get in the way of it. Tom Watson - 14.40 p.m.

New Statesman - Did News of the World Seek to Undermine a Murder Investigation? 


    From Telegraph: 14.11 James Murdoch has stepped down as executive chairman of News International.

    From Guardian Live Blog:
    News Corporation has issued the following statement about James Murdoch:
    News Corporation today announced that, following his relocation to the company's headquarters in New York, James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer, has relinquished his position as executive chairman of News International, its UK publishing unit. Tom Mockridge, chief executive officer of News International, will continue in his post and will report to News Corporation president and COO Chase Carey.
    "We are all grateful for James' leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs," said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer, News Corporation. "He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB. Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations."
    "I deeply appreciate the dedication of my many talented colleagues at News International who work tirelessly to inform the public and am confident about the tremendous momentum we have achieved under the leadership of my father and Tom Mockridge," said James Murdoch. "With the successful launch of the Sun on Sunday and new business practices in place across all titles, News International is now in a strong position to build on its successes in the future. As deputy chief operating Officer, I look forward to expanding my commitment to News Corporation's international television businesses and other key initiatives across the company." 
    The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh has just tweeted:
    The BBC's Paul Mason has just tweeted:
    Veteran media commentator Ray Snoddy has just tweeted:
      From Telegraph Live Blog:
      15.22 More on Murdoch resignation:
      Following the resignation of James Murdoch earlier today, The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh highlights that Chase Carey, President, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Deputy Chairman of News Corporation spoke yesterday about an "awareness" at News Corporation that the company would have a better trading position if it didn't own newspapers.
      16.02 Telegraph leader writer David Hughes says it is "inevitable" that Murdoch's resignation will be linked to the scandals surrounding News International:
      His departure will be linked with two events on Monday. First came the quite devastating testimony to the Leveson Inquiry from the Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers. She spoke in lurid detail of a “culture of illegal payments” at the Sun with large sums of money being paid to “corrupted officials”, including police officers. On the same day the singer Charlotte Church was awarded £600,000 in damages and costs by the now defunct News of the World over phone-hacking. The singer’s voicemail messages had been targeted over a number of years and the newspaper had obtained medical information relating to both her and her mother. This was Black Monday for News Corporation. The reputational damage already sustained by the media empire was ratcheted up spectacularly. James Murdoch’s standing down from the UK operation is no doubt an attempt to draw some sort of line beneath the scandal. It's unlikely to work.

      Wednesday, February 29th 2012 
       Link to yesterday's Hearing HERE
      Today's Witnesses:
      DI Mark Maberley (MPS)
      DCS Keith Surtees (MPS)
      DCS Phillip Williams (MPS)

      DI Mark Maberley (MPS) Witness Statement in Full
      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      Telegraph Live Blog:
      16.04 DI Maberly is giving evidence now.
      He said Vodafone developed 'vampire data' which provided extra information about voicemails and calls. It was an engineering tool. It was crucial, but it was only kept for a few days.
      Maberly says 'Fleet Street Folklore' was of 'double-whacking' - whereby one caller would occupy a line while another caller would be directed to the voicemail, and could put a PIN in. There are only so many calls from the gas board someone could take before they become suspicious, he says.
      Mulcaire was "much more sophisticated". He was able to reset people's pins and had a grasp of the vocabulary and systems employed by the different mobile provider, and could ascertain the 'direct dail number' that gave direct access to voicemail.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Maberly mentions "double whacking" – part of Fleet Street folk lore – where one person rings your phone and engages it, someone else rings your phone and is directed into your voicemail. You interrupt the voicemail and put in a pin number.
      Mulcaire was "much more sophisticated – changing people's pin numbers, resetting them by calling into service providers, he had knowledge of the language they would use, it was clear he had a knowledge of the different companies' systems in order to be able to do so."

      Hacked Off:
      Maberly: NoW hub number (ending in 312) could have been used by anyone at the paper. Looked like mobile no but is not.

      Hacked Off:
      Maberly: One of my later requests was for a list of desk phones and diagrams as to where people were sitting.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay asks about other phone numbers which were hacked, which were outside of the royal family.
      Maberly says they looked at Mulcaire's various office numbers and also the News of the World hub number. The paper also had another number which ended in 312, had appearance of mobile number but was another hub number. It was a low cost number that saved the NoW money. Jay asks if it could be anybody at the News of the World. "Exactly that," replies Maberly.
      Hacked Off:
      List shown to court includes journalists, members of royal household, sportspeople, police, politicians, and notes...

      Hacked Off:
      Maberly: I identified three names of NoW journalists I would have liked to speak to if I had resources.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Maberly is asked if the police tried to find out whose phone that was, which desk it was on. "There was the expectation that News International would be keeping that data for its own records."
      So you were advised these records would exist, asks Jay. "That's correct. In later applications one of my requests was to ask for a list of the desk phones and diagrams as to where people were sitting."
      Jay says only "one document" was supplied in this regard. "Were you suspicious you were being fobbed off?" Maberly agrees.
      Another list of stats suggests Clive Goodman rang a number once, says Jay. Maberly points out it's one digit away from the number of a member of the royal household, it was a misdial.
      Jay thanks him. He says he read it late last night and didn't spot it.
      Maberly is asked by Jay about the significance of the "corner names". He says some of the people he wanted to speak to, their names appeared in the corner of Mulcaire's files.
      One of the mobile numbers of the three journalists he wanted to speak to appeared in Mulcaire's phone bills, Maberly says. Jay says this is important circumstantial evidence.

      DCS Keith Surtees (MPS) Witness Statement in Full
      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay is asking Surtees about the list of 418 potential victims, and how and whether the police could have checked if their voicemails had also been hacked.Surtees says it would have been "virtually impossible" without a suspect in mind. So could have done it with Mulcaire and Goodman, but not other numbers.
      Jay argues that actually it's not that difficult. "It's quite simple isn't it?" Leveson doesn't think it's that difficult either.
      Surtees is now talking about his search strategy of News International. He says he was aware of limitations on what he could search for, especially when likely to find journalistic material.
      The police search of News International focused on non-journalistic materials. "I wanted to search the desk, I wanted to search the financial areas, I wanted to find who was involved in this illegal activity," says Surtees.
      "Despite suggestions that it would be difficult under section 8 [of Pace] and not possible I sought to do that and obtained the section 8 warrant."
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      15.07 Surtees says he obtained a PACE warrant to search NOTW offices in A. But there was a "tense stand off".
      Four officers got in and secured some evidence from Clive Goodman's desk, but others, including a forensics team, were barred from entry. Photographers were summoned and took pictures of the scene. Night news editors challenged the legality of the raid.
      "Our officers were efffectively surrounded, photographed and not assisted," said Surtees.
      It is "very difficult" to say if there was a threat of violence. He says they did not return with more officers - as News International may have had the evidence destroyed.

      From @MrsTrevithick:
      So, News Int Barred Police, Summoned Photographers, Surrounded Police, Officers Felt Threatened With Violence... So They Left.

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      "A number of editors challenged the officers over the legality of their entry into News International," says Surtees.
      "They were asked to go into a conference room until lawyers could arrive and challenge [their entry]. It was described to me as a 'tense stand-off' by the officer leading the search."
      The forensic management team was also unable to enter the building.
      "Our officers were effectively surrounded and photographed and not assisted in any way shape or form. The search was curtailed and did not go to the extent I wanted it too," says Surtees.
      It was clear that Mulcaire been working for NI for a number of years, resulting in "substantial cash payments", says Surtees.
      Jay asks if these were limited to £12,300. Surtees replies: "No. From memory he was on a wage of £100,000-plus a year, and I saw a number of other invoices where he was individually paid for stories. I saw one for £7,000 and one or two others also."

      David Allen Green:
      Once as a lawyer had to deal with Met police search of a large office. Did not get impression police would have been easily cowed.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      The inquiry has now resumed. Robert Jay QC asks Surtees about the "corner names" in Mulcaire's notes.
      Jay:" Did you not think it likely these corner names might be commissioning Mulcaire, and would be aware of his tradecraft?"
      Surtees: "Potentially, yes. I know he was supplying journalists with his product. The issue was whether the journalists knew how he was obtaining that product. Or whether they were simply blindly receiving product."
       Surtees said he would have liked to investigate further but was on a number of other investigations, including some of the 72 anti-terrorist investigations.
      "In terms of what I would liked to have done, coupled with the other investigations I was involved in, I knew where my priorities lay – serious threat to life investigations."

      Martin Hickman
      Police contacted potential victims. "One.. was Tessa Jowell. All the potential victims declined to assist us with the prosecution."

      Hacked Off:
      Surtees: The Met could have approached all people in Mulcaire's notes and showed them evidence. I accept that.

      Hacked Off:
      Surtees: It was my understanding telephone companies were informing potential victims. I now know some of them didn't.

      Surtees: I'm alive to the fact we have got lines of investigation that had not been pursued. I would have liked to pursue them.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Surtees says the decision was made in September or October 2006 by DAC Peter Clarke not to expand the scope of the phone-hacking inquiry."I can't recall being at a meeting. The decision was subsequently communicated to me," he says.
      He adds that if SO13 had substantial resources, as a detective he would have wanted to continue the investigation, but this was not the case.
      Surtees had suggested outsourcing the remainder of the phone-hacking investigation to another part of the Met on 31 May 2006, and in September or October he did this again.

      DCS Phillip Williams (MPS)  Witness Statement in Full

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE
      In 2006, Williams was a member of SO13, the Met's anti-terrorism unit.
      The head of SO13 at the time was DAC Peter Clarke, who reported to AC Andy Hayman.
      DAC John Yates was responsible for the specialist crime unit at the time and had no involvement in specialist operations, including SO13.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      At the time of the hacking probe he worked for SO13 - the anti-terrorist branch of the Met. It launched Operation Caryatid into allegations of voicemail interception as a "kindred" matter to terrorism. The force had four investigative teams totalling 50 officers. Williams led the operational resource unit.
      The ass. commissioner for specialist operations was Andy Hayman.
      SO13 was under "absolutely huge pressure" after 7/7. But in the same year the Royal Household sounded the alarm about the interception of voicemails. Williams was given the job as it was not a "core terrorism investigation". "This was typical of something that would have come to me," Williams said.

      "We were completely open minded as to how this information, if it was coming out, was coming out," he says. They were set on it being voicemail interception.

      He was tasked with investigating, prosecuting and preventing future abuse of the telephone system, the inquiry hears.
      Tweet from Ben Fenton:
      [Bit of a bombshell: the very first internal police report raised "likelihood" that it was more than one reporter.]

      Telegraph Live Blog:
      DI Southwark found NINE rogue phone numbers calling into Asprey and Lowther Pinkerton's voicemail - including the home address of Clive Goodman into JLP. The dates and timeframe matched.
      He writes in the log the implications are potentially great because Vodafone seemed unaware of it was possible.
      Williams says Southwark speaks to Vodafone. "His initial inquiries are 'it's not possible'." It's only because he persisted with a member of Vodafone that they admitted it could occur.
      "You were looking ahead to what seems obvious to us now," says Mr Jay.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Williams agrees with Jay that it passed through his mind at the time that the problem could be far more widespread.
      From Ben Fenton:
      Williams says he was raising idea they wd be slammed for investigating sthg that was not terrorism at such a time of terror.

      From David Allen Green:
      At , another outing for that false but convenient contention that it was not illegal to listen to a voicemail once already heard.

      Telegraph Live Blog:
      Williams concluded voicemail interception was a breach of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers.
      The CPS advised that it was only an offence if the messages were intercepted before they were opened by the recipient. That was also Williams' view. "We coined this analogy of the unopened envelope on a desk," he says.
      One of the victims was using an O2 mobile. There were 5-6 victims in the Royal Household. This ability is unlikely to be limited to Goodman alone." He speculated in his notes that it was "widespread" amongst those wishing to hear voicemail with national and potentially international implications."
      But he added it would have implications for dedicating the resources of SO13 and the public interest had to be accounted for.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Police strategy at the time involved asking Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, one of the private secretaries to Princes William and Harry, not to pick up a voicemail and see if it was picked up by one of the rogue numbers.
      Williams says he wanted to save potential victims – the royals – from embarrassment if case came to court.
      "To maintain the confidence of my victim I wanted to be able to assure them if at all possible if they were going to be a victim in my case it would be solely on the fact technically that one of the messages had been intercepted, not the who or what it was about."......
      ....He adds: "I was not going to consider doing nothing. I very much wanted to do something. Me and my team put in a huge amount of effort maintaining the support of the victims. We wanted to bring this to court to demonstrate it was absolutely a criminal offence and not to be tolerated."
      "This was new to them, they didn't realise this could be done," says Williams of the phone companies.
      "They are telling us it's news to them but people were able to do this. Their own engineering software, although it could show what we called the rogue numbers coming into the voicemail number, it had difficulty telling them what was going on in the voicemail box. They couldn't tell us if message existed in the voicemail box."
      They had to use more specialist software to get more accurate picture of what was going in on Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton's voicemail.
      From Ross Hawkins:
      Philip Williams at : Police in 06 were aware phone hacking could be a technique used across all media & poss by criminals

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Rupert Murdoch as just made a surprise intervention into the debate about the Metropolitan police's admission that it loaned Rebekah Brooks a police horse:
      Tom Watson MP has responded to Rupert Murdoch's tweet:

      Ben Fenton:
      Williams confirms he found out about the "for Neville" email at some time between arrests in Aug and trial in Nov.

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Williams wrote a memo saying the number of victims wouldn't make much difference to the sentence, which would be relatively small. Even if he found 100 victims, there would be relatively little difference.
      Goodman and Mulcaire were arrested on 8 August 2006. Williams had been on leave and was briefed on arrests by Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Surtees.
      The next day, the police discovered a plot to blow up nine airliners.
      Surtees told Williams that News International had been obstructive when the police tried to arrest Goodman.
      Jay asks Williams about Mulcaire's police interview. He was asked about the hacking of John Prescott and Joan Hammell.
      Williams says he was aware that there may have been more targets of interception, but says the challenge was to prove that they were hacked.
      He adds that Mulcaire was getting information for the media world; some of his methods might be lawful, some illegal.

      Ben Fenton:
      Williams says he thought all Mulcaire's documents were gone through in keeping with aim to ID key people of interest to CG&GM.

      Ben Fenton:
      Jay:potential victims included convicted paedophile.Mail on Sunday,"state securities".Pretty obvious other NotW journos involved?

      Ben Fenton:
      Jay:Given some were and some weren't 'Clive' it is pretty strong inference corner name was who was commissioning? Williams:Yes.

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay suggests the evidence of who requested the work was the corner name.
      Williams says: "It was indicitive, I agree, that could well be the person. From my point of view, as an investigation, I would need to build that case to actually prove that in court."
      Jay asks: "Did you associate any of the corner names, which were first names, with any employees of the News of the World?"
      Williams says: "They could be from any organisation."
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      11.15 Officers under Keith Surtees examined Mulcaire and Goodman's notebooks over a weekend.
      They found 418 names on 11,000 pages. They were looking for threats to national security.
      "I feel this was representative of the pool of potential people that may have been of interest to those two men."
      But counsel confirmed Williams' view that even if there were more than 100 victims it would make no difference to the sentence given at trial.
      In his 'victims document' he wrote around 180 names.
      The team researched the names coming up. It was a "wide range of people" - the significance of some was clear; who others were was unclear.
      Williams says there were a number of "corner names" - Mulcaire's note on who'd commissioned the job. Williams says that was his "supposition".
      11.25 Williams says a number of tapes of voicemails were seized. "There were a whole range of conversations on those tapes." 
      Ben Fenton:
      Williams says cdnt prove the £104K was for illegal activities for purposes of confiscation orders.Cd only prove £12.5K in cash.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay asks Williams about whether there was evidence of the involvement of the News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, or other journalists in phone hacking.
      Williams says:
      We were all aware what the speculation was and how this might be further than these two men because that was part of our discussion whether there might be other defendants. At that time we didn't have evidence.
      A CPS memo of a meeting in August 2006 which says the police did not have evidence Mulcaire was working with other NoW journalists.
      Williams says he launched a financial review of Goodman and Mulcaire as the police were considering attempting to show that their assets were the proceeds of crime.
      Ben Fenton:
      Jay taking Williams through what he told the CPS in Aug 06.Had to ID what he did and to how many people and who.

      Guardian live Blog:
      Jay says police adopted "overly cautious approach" to potential victims given the "persistent pattern of behaviour" by Mulcaire."Everything he is doing is with the objective [of accessing voicemail]," he adds.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      11.28 Counsel were told at conference that the editor of NOTW was not involved. Williams had no evidence.
      Similar there was speculation it went beyond Goodman to other NOTW reporters, but there was no evidence.
      Williams put a financial investigation on Muclaire. They knew he owned a house and assessed he earned £100k a year. They were interested in seizing assets as proceeds as crime.
      But all they could prove as proceeds of crime were payments of £12,300 from Goodman to Mulcaire.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      "You were beginning to build up clear picture of access to voicemail by others in the News of the World?" asks Jay.
      Williams says data was in respect of Goodman and Mulcaire, and "hub number" at the News of the World. "We had information the 'hub number' was calling these unique voicemail numbers," he adds.
      Williams said police wanted to know if it was Goodman or Mulcaire ringing from there, and what the phone data was behind that hub number.
      "The number ended 5354," says Jay. "Does that ring a bell?" Williams can't remember.
      From IndexLeveson:
      Williams: putting in context the risk of "harm" in deciding depth of investigation

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Leveson tells Wiliams notifying victims it is no different than if the police foiled an armed robbery at a bank before it took place.
      "I can understand this is not an easy job, Mr Wiliams. If you thought a bank was a potential target of an armed robbery but you foiled it so the bank was never touched would you call the bank a victim of a conspiracy to rob?" asks Leveson.
      "Yes," says Williams.
      "So why is it any different to those on your list when it is abundantly clear Mr Mulcaire is collecting phone numbers and pin numbers and all this detail, he is probably doing it for someone else and therefore he is conspiring with them probably to use this information to access voicemails?"
      Williams says: "In hindsight I entirely agree … I totally understand when people look back they think more people should have been informed."
      Jay asks if Williams should not have carried out further investigation, including calling in the people whose names appeared in the corner of Mulcaire's notes."There were absolutely further leads that we could have followed in this investigation," says Williams.
      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay is now going through the 15 September 2006 email, read out to the inquiry on Monday, from NI lawyer Tom Crone to the then News of the World editor Andy Coulson, suggesting that information had been apparently relayed to Rebekah Brooks by "cops".
      He says is not going to ask who the police officer is but wants to know if the information is correct.
      Williams says the email's assertion that there were more than £1m of payments is incorrect.
      "That figure is wrong. The figure of £1m is not known to me or the investigation team."
      He adds that Mulcaire had a contract for £105,000 and there may have been other payments.
      From Peter Hunt BBC:
      Leveson Inquiry: Rebekah Brooks was one of the most "accessed" (hacked) since 2005 -- occurring twice a week.

      From Guardian Live Blog:

      In September 2006, Brooks, then editor of the Sun, was told by the police she was being hacked.Jay says that reason Met asked if Brooks (or "RW" as she is apparently referred to in the email) "wanted to take it further" was because she had been a victim of hacking.
      Jay asks if calling in News of the World executives would have been a "fishing expedition", as John Yates has suggested.
      Williams says: "You need to work from knowledge."
      Jay asks: "Was an unhealthy close relationship between the police and News International a factor in stifling this investigation?"
      Williams replies: "I don't think it was a factor at all."
      Ben Fenton:
      Williams:I was well aware they knew what we found & what our suspicions were. Agreed that he could have gone to see them.
      asks Williams to look back at original idea of preventing abuse of phones.You cd have notified targets... ..and you cd have made sure reputable organisation[NI] had taken appropriate steps to investigate itself.
      From Guardian Live Blog:
      The judge asks him if he thinks Mr Justice Vos had the full picture when sentencing Mulcaire and Goodman.
      Williams replies: "I dearly wish they had pleaded not guilty. The prosecution case had been put together with all of this material, it would have been tested in court. It would have been plain to see, that's what we were preparing for."
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      12.57 Was Williams not angered by the 'rogue reporter' claim, Jay asks.
      "I was just realistic that it was an organisation, like many organisations, looking to protect its reputation."
      He adds: "I can speculate all I like. As a criminal investigator I work on evidence. I know the lengths I'd have to go to to get that evidence."
      He adds he had hoped the prosecution would have caused media groups to examine whether their "systems" had "vulnerabilities."
      "The irony and the sadness is I dearly wish they had pleaded not guilty," Williams adds. They had prepared for a criminal trial that would have indicated an "industrial" scale of hacking.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Williams is asked if he read the Guardian's revelations about News International's settlement with Graham Taylor in July 2009. He says he did, and it was based on existing information.
      "There was no intention to hide anything," he adds.
      Hacked Off:
      Surtees: In 2006 O2 and Vodafone informed MPS of suspicious activity of a man "Paul Williams" trying to change PIN nos.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Leveson tells Williams he is not suggesting he has been involved "in some inappropriate relationship which has caused you to backtrack on an investigation"."But I am sure you will understand the concern that decisions taken in the heat of the terrible events of 2006 - and I'm not now talking about the arrests but the other work of your department - are very readily understandable.
      "But it's quite difficult to translate some of those perfectly legitimate decisions into a construct where we now know the facts from the documents and say that there was nothing there at all.
      "The risk is people might perceive your reactions to these issues encourages inappropriate inferences to be drawn.
      "That is the concern I have got to address because it's critical the public has confidence in the police. The consequence of an approach that may be justified for one reason and then justified again for a slightly different reason if it becomes unpicked you have to start from scratch, which is exactly what has happened."