British phone hacking hearings heat up as Murdochs throw more staffers to wolves

Murdoch scion: Nearly 10 years of phone hacks are the responsibility of the editor hired in 2007.

The Murdoch family continues to throw former employees to the wolves in an attempt to save itself, as the British Parliament continues its probe into the News of the World phone hacking scandals.

This morning, during a second day of grilling in front of the committee of MPs investigating the scandal, News Corp. scion James Murdoch blamed the tabloid's "industrial scale" phone-hacking operation on the paper's top editor Colin Myler, according to Reuters.

James Murdoch – son of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, heads News International, the British subsidiary that owns News of the World – originally blamed the phone hacking on rogue reporters and editors working without the knowledge of more senior editors or top corporate managers.

His claim that the whole hacking scandal was Myler's fault makes complete sense, though, especially considering this timeline reported by The Telegraph:

The phone hacking began in about 2003, under then-editor Rebekah Brooks and scored its first major coup with a story on Prince William's knee injury in 2005 – a story News of the World staffers nailed by breaking into the cell-phone voice mails of members of Prince Williams' staff.

In 2007 an editor was sentenced to four months in prison and an private investigator got six months for hacking phones of members of the royal family.

In 2008 James Murdoch paid 700,000 pounds to settle another phone hacking claim.

Myler only took the job as News of the World Editor in 2007.

Myler was supposed to clean up all that mess, according to Murdoch, who also accused the paper's former chief lawyer, Tom Crone, of lying to Parliament about the scandal and of setting up his own surveillance program to boot.

And that's without even addressing the massive bribes allegedly paid to various members and divisions of British police agencies to persuade them to look the other way while the dirty work was done.

This all makes me worry that the British economy will be at even greater risk during the next few weeks than the rest of Europe.

This was just one day's testimony in an investigation by Parliament that shows no signs of slowing.

If people keep getting thrown under the bus at this rate, the always-glacial traffic in London – and the British financial-services business with it – will grind completely to a stop while the Brits try to clean all the ick out from under the surface of their media and political environments.

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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