News Corp. ‘Smoking Phone’ Found in Hacking Inquiry


When former News of the World editor Andy Coulson said last year, "I don't accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the NOTW," echoing years of denials from across News Corp., he must have forgotten about the existence of one shared newsroom cell phone, nicknamed "the hub," which was seemingly used in more than 1,000 phone hacks. The Independent reports today that investigators in the hacking inquiry located one device, which call logs indicate illegally accessed 1,150 numbers between 2004 and 2006, indicating that the shady tactics were carried out within News International's London headquarters.

Despite detailed company logs recording every call made on the hub phone, it was left unexamined by two internal News International inquiries, which dismissed the notion that phone hacking was rife at the title.

Although it's unclear who exactly controlled the device, one former journalist at the tabloid says it was used by a small group of individuals, who then doled out information. Reporters would be told "precisely where a person would be at a given time, so we could go and intercept, photograph and question them. That person would be surprised at how we had discovered their whereabouts. In retrospect the obvious explanation is that a voicemail was left somewhere in which the person had declared their intention to be at a specific location at a specific time."

Met finds secret phone at centre of NI hacking [Independent]