Socialist Worker

New name for News of the World as scandal lingers

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2291

More revelations about the murky world of phone hacking have come to light.

They come just in time for Rupert Murdoch’s relaunch of the disgraced News of the World as the “all-new” Sun on Sunday.

Philip Campbell Smith is alleged to have hacked into the computer of former British intelligence officer Ian Hurst. He can finally be named this week after the end of his trial for possession of ammunition.

He admitted guilt.

The end of the trial means he can be named as the man accused of sending Hurst an email containing a trojan virus in 2006.

Smith, like Hurst, is a former British intelligence officer. They both served in the Force Research Unit, a secret unit of the British army in Northern Ireland.

Smith is a private investigator, who was employed by fellow private detective Jonathan Rees. He is said to have been asked to carry out the hacking by Rees, who ran a firm called Southern Investigations.

Rees was working for the News of the World when Andy Coulson, who went on to become David Cameron’s chief spin doctor, was its editor.

But Hurst recorded Smith saying he was in contact with Andy Coulson. And the hacking was alleged to have been requested by Alex Marunchak, an executive on the News of the World who also worked for the Metropolitan Police.

Marunchak denies the claim.

Jonathan Rees was last year acquitted of murdering a former business partner, Daniel Morgan.

In a separate case that can now be revealed, Campbell Smith and three others pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by illegally obtaining confidential information.

The three others are Adam Spears, Daniel Summers and Graham Freeman. The former coppers and soldiers got information from banks, Interpol, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

This murky world of private investigators swirling around the Murdoch empire forced the closure of the News of the World.

Yet the company has already admitted that the Sun on Sunday will bring back many News of the World executives and staff.


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Article information

News
Tue 21 Feb 2012, 18:24 GMT
Issue No. 2291
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