Did you read more into the hacking story than was there?

Did you read more into the hacking story than was there?

Nick Davies - Guardian July 8 2009
"..But one senior source at the Met told the Guardian that during the Goodman inquiry, officers found evidence of News Group staff using private investigators who hacked into "thousands" of mobile phones. Another source with direct knowledge of the police findings put the figure at "two or three thousand" mobiles. They suggest that MPs from all three parties and cabinet ministers, including former deputy prime minister John Prescott and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, were among the targets..."

Are Davies and Yates of the Yard being consistent?

The paragraph above was the most explosive part of the Guardian’s story on phone tapping that took place within News Group while Tory PR boss Andy Coulson was still editor of the News of the World.

Judging by the reaction of non-Tory politicians, other parts of the media and those contributing to PB threads there’s been a widespread assumption that this is saying that a huge operation was going with the Sun/NOTW targeting the phones of thousands of people.

But does Davies actually say that?

Scrutinise the words and phrasing again very carefully and if you still don’t see it do it again. For the “thousands” allegation does not apply to journalists at the News Group itself but to the private investigators that they hired. These of course, worked for almost every national paper as was covered fully by the Information Commissioner in 2006.

The way the Davies report is worded is not inconsistent with Friday’s statement from Assistant Commissioner Yates.

So the political row that’s ensued appears as though it’s down to a mis-interpretation by politicians and journalists who might be looking for something that would help them undermine Andy Coulson.

Could they have jumped to conclusions which are not backed up by what Davies actually wrote? If so they might be advised to step back a touch.

Of course there could be things still there which could damage the Tory PR chief – but he, News Group, the police and Nick Davies were not saying there was a massive operation at the paper targeting thousands – and without that it lacks a lot of its potency.

As Stephen Glover writes in in an Indy piece 80% of the Guardian’s story was old news.

I wonder who will be laughing last?

Mike Smithson

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