Earlier this morning, a British House of Commons committee questioned senior police officials about past and current illegal phone hacking investigations.
Committee members pressed representatives from Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police about whether they properly pursued allegations that members of the news media hacked into private phone systems, starting in 2006. Most of the investigations focused on the recently-closed tabloid The News of the World.
Also at issue are more recent charges that journalists from various other media owned by News International hacked into the phone systems and email of British government officials, as well as obtaining medical records and other private information.
The New York Times reported Monday that the officials who started to investigate the hacking became hacking victims themselves, and the investigators "had concerns that if they aggressively investigated The News of the World, they would be punished with splashy stories about their secrets, some of which were tabloid-ready."
Witnesses included Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates. When officials asked that the incomplete 2006 phone hacking investigation be reopened, he advised that there was insufficient evidence to justify this. He has now apologized.
Subjects of the alleged hacking include former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, members of the British royal family, families of British service members killed in Iraq & Afghanistan, and the families of crime victims.