Bellingcat

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

What Piers Morgan Told Leveson About Phone Hacking

The Leveson Inquiry took an interesting turn today when Jeremy Paxman told a story about Piers Morgan at a lunch in September 2002

Two reasons I remember the lunch. One was that it as so unusual to be invited into such a bestiary. The second of which was that I was really struck by something that Piers Morgan said at the lunch. I was seated, as far as I recall, between him on my left and the editor of the Sunday Mirror on my right, and Ulrika Jonsson was seated opposite, next to or semi next to , almost next to Philip Green and Victor Blank on her other side I think. 4

And Morgan said, teasing Ulrika, that he knew what had happened in the conversations between her and Sven Goran Erickson and he went into this mock Swedish accent.

Now, I don't know whether he was repeating a conversation that he had heard or he was imagining this con. In fact, to be fair to him, I think should accept both possibilities, because he probably was imagining it. It was a rather bad parody.

I was quite struck by it because I'm rather wet behind the ears in many of these things. I didn't know that that sort of thing went on. Indeed, when he turned to me and said 'Have you got a mobile phone I said 'yes, and he said 'have you got a security setting on the message bit of it. I don't think it was called voicemail in those days, I didn't know what he was talking about he then explained that the way to get access to people's message was go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn't put on your won code… his words 'you're' a fool'

I don't know whether he was making this up., making up the conversation, but it was clearly something that was familiar with and I wasn't . I didn't know. I didn't know that this went on.
So this clearly shows Piers Morgan knew how phone hacking worked back in 2002, but he told the Leveson Inquiry this:
JAY Do you remember an interview in which you said:

"As for Clive Goodman, I feel a lot of sympathy for a man who has been the convenient fall guy for an investigative practice that everyone knows was going on at almost every paper in Fleet Street for years."

MORGAN Yes.

JAY Why did you say that?

MORGAN Well, that was the rumour mill at the time.  I mean, it was exploding around Fleet Street.  I wasn't there, I hadn't been there for three years, but everyone you talked to said that he was being made a scapegoat, that this was a widely prevalent thing.  I wasn't aware that it was widely prevalent in any specific form.  I was hearing these rumours like everybody else.  The reality is that it certainly seems to have been much more widespread at one newspaper, and we now know that the Guardian also phone-hacked, so you had two newspapers.

So it's certainly wider apparently than just Clive Goodman, but I'm not going to get into rumour-mongering because that's not really the point of this Inquiry, I don't think.

JAY But were you rumour-mongering when you had the interview with the Press Gazette in 2007 or were you speaking from your own experience?

MORGAN No, I was just passing on rumours that I'd heard.
So all of a sudden in 2007 the phone hacking that Piers Morgan had demonstrated to Jeremy Paxman in 2002 was just a rumour, and Piers Morgan only knew it as that.  No doubt the Leveson Inquiry will have more questions for Piers Morgan in the coming weeks.

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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