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Journalist's letter re-opens phone hacking scandal

British MPs have released a 2007 letter written by former royal editor Clive Goodman that alleges phone hacking was “widely discussed” at the News of the World tabloid and senior editors were aware of the practice.

Phone hacking letter 2011 08 16 11Enlarge
A combination of pictures illustrates the top picture taken on January 27, 2011, showing signage representing all four of News International's British newspapers and the picture below taken on July 17, 2011, showing the logo for the News of the World missing from outside of News International headquarters in east London. (BEN STANSALL /AFP/Getty Images)

A letter written by a UK journalist jailed for phone hacking alleges that hacking was “widely discussed” at the News of the World tabloid, and senior editors knew what was going on.

British Members of Parliament on Tuesday released the explosive letter, which was written by the newspaper’s former royal editor Clive Goodman to News International executives as he appealed against his dismissal in 2007, the BBC reports.

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In the letter posted on the MPs’ committee website, Goodman, the only journalist so far to have been convicted for intercepting voice mail messages, wrote that he had been promised his job back if he did not point fingers at the paper in court.

“The editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper,” Goodman wrote in the letter, which was copied to Les Hinton, then executive chairman of News International, and Stuart Kuttner, the then managing editor of the News of the World.

"This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor. As far as I am aware, no other member of staff has faced disciplinary action, much less dismissal,” he wrote.

But Clive Goodman’s letter — written four years ago but only made public Tuesday — does not reveal when these discussions took place, or who else was involved, the Guardian says.

Goodman was jailed for four months in January 2007 after pleading guilty to hacking phones, and Rupert Murdoch’s News International said at the time that Goodman was a "rogue" who had acted alone and no other journalists were involved in hacking.

Meanwhile, the British Parliament’s Commons culture committee said it may recall James Murdoch to give further evidence regarding what he knew about hacking.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/110816/murdoch-news-the-world-phone-hacking-scandal-letter