Bellingcat

Friday, 25 May 2012

Hackgate for Beginners - Controversial Cops and News Corp.

During the Hackgate Scandal there have been a number of police officers linked to News Corp.  Here’s a few key names you might see popping up when following the Hackgate Scandal:
Andy Hayman – A former Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary and Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at London's Metropolitan Police, resigning in December 2007 following allegations about expense claims and alleged improper conduct with a female member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and a female sergeant.  After his resignation he would face criticism, along with Sir Ian Blair, from the press and Independent Police Complaints Commission over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.
During Operation Caryatid, the investigation into the interception of phone messages at Clarence House by journalists from the News of the World, the officer in charge of the investigation reported to Andy Hayman.  Hayman told the Home Affairs Select Committee in July 2011 that he had met with News International executives during the investigation, something he considered as not unusual as it would have been odd if he had cancelled the dinner.
The Guardian reported that some police sources said it was “unfortunate” that Andy Hayman went on to work for News International as a columnist for The Times, where even with his knowledge of Operation Caryatid he wrote that there were “perhaps a handful” of hacking victims.
John Yates - A former Assistant Commissioner in the London Metropolitan Police Service, who resigned in July 2011 over criticism of a July 2009 review of Operation Caryatid, in which he decided in one 8 hour sessions that there was no fresh material that could lead to convictions. 
John Yates began to receive criticism when the House of Commons home affairs committee began to look into the way in which the review had been carried out, with a number of statements made by John Yates about the review were contradicted by the evidence of the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer.  He received further criticism when it was revealed that he, Sir Ian Blair, Andy Hayman, and Paul Stephenson had attended a number of meals with representative from various News International newspaper titles around the time of the review. 
In a July 9th 2011 interview with the Sunday Telegraph he expressed “extreme regret” for failing in the initial phone hacking inquiry, but dismissed any suggestion of corruption or improper relationships on his part.  On July 18th 2011 he announced his resignation in a brief statement.
In May 2012 a report into phone hacking by the House of Commons select committee found that John Yates and Keri Starmer were culpable for failing to properly investigate evidence of phone hacking when it was first brought to their attention during the Operation Caryatid investigation.  The report concluded: "The police at that time had no interest or willingness to uncover the full extent of the phone-hacking which had taken place."
Paul Stephenson – The former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, who resigned after questions were asked about his relationship with former News International journalist Neil Wallis, who was arrested in July 2011 as part of Operation Weeting.
Paul Stephenson first met Wallis in 2006 during his time at the News of the World, and hired Neil Wallis to provide “strategic communication advice and support” to the Metropolitan Police on a part time basis from October 2009 to September 2010 while the Met's Deputy Director of Public Affairs was on extended sick leave.  Among other things this involved advising the assistant commissioner at the time, John Yates, who had recently reviewed Operation Caryatid in July 2009.
Questions about Neil Wallis’s relationship with the Metropolitan Police began went it emerged that he had worked for the police.  It was revealed that Paul Stephenson had met or dined with Neil Wallis on eight separate occasions between 2006 and 2010, more than any senior executive or journalist on any other newspapers, and that he had accepted £12,000-worth of hospitality at a health spa for which Wallis worked as a PR consultant, and where Rebekah Brooks’ husband Charlie Brooks runs an alternative medicine "kriotherapy" centre.
On July 14th 2011 Neil Wallis was arrested as part of Operation Weeting, and on July 17th 2011 Paul Stephenson made a lengthy statement announcing his intention to resign as commissioner, saying that questions surrounding his integrity would otherwise become detrimental to the Met as a whole.
Ray Adams – A former Metropolitan police commander who left the Metropolitan Police and joined the News Corp owned subsidiary NDS UK Ltd after a brief stint at Kroll. 
In July 1987 Adams was being interviewed by police corruption investigators when his close associate DC Alan “Taffy” Holmes shot himself.  DC Holmes was the corrupt police officer who Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn claim in their book on police corruption “The Untouchables” had been working with the recently murdered Daniel Morgan to expose claims of police corruption that possibly involved passing information to the News of the World.
Later on Ray Adams would be involved with the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry, and the Macpherson report into the Lawrence murder detailed suspicions held by the Lawrence family about Adam’s alleged links with Clifford Norris, the father of one of Lawrence’s murderers David Norris, and Kenneth Noye, also noting that Adams’ evidence had “strange features” to it.
In March 2012 BBC Panorama claimed that Ray Adams had worked closely with a hacker, Lee Gibling, to set up the website The House of Ill-Compute (THOiC), which was intended to gather cable and satellite hackers to one site run by Lee Gibling, and therefore under the control of Ray Adams.  Lee Gibling claimed that Ray Adams provided him with software and instructions to hack their major rival ONDigital.  Those claims were supported by documents passed on to Panorama.
Later Lee Gibling would also allege that Ray Adams used information from the THOiC website to strong arm a number of cable and satellite companies into giving up internal operational security to NDS UK Ltd, claiming that hacks on THOiC showed those companies weren’t providing adequate security to protect BSkyB’s revenue, and that unless they handed over their operational security operations to NDS BSkyB would remove their channels from those companies.  Once NDS took over operational security they used the information from THOiC to arrest various individuals hacking those companies.
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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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