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From the BBC:

Six journalists from the now defunct News of the World have been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone-hacking at the newspaper.

Scotland Yard said three men and three women were held in London and Cheshire.

It said its Operation Weeting investigation had "identified a further suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails".

Police said the case relates to 2005-2006 and was separate from its earlier inquiry which has seen charges laid.

Two men aged 45 and 46 were arrested in Wandsworth, while a 39-year-old man was held in Greenwich.

The three women arrested were a 39-year-old detained in Cheshire, a 33-year-old in Islington, and a 40-year-old in Lambeth.

News International confirmed that 2 of the six currently work for Murdoch's The Sun newspaper.

Martin Hickman, who co-wrote Dial M for Murdoch with MP Tom Watson, just tweeted this:

Today's arrests will turn out to be a huge story. #hacking

From Brit in the comments:

* [new]  A whole new conspiracy... (0+ / 0-)
...(i.e. nothing to do with Mulcaire's notebooks): a whole new set of potential victims.

Everyone in Fleet St knew that Goodman, convicted in 2006 of hacking aides to the Royal Princes, was not a rogue reporter

And everyone knew that Mulcaire, the PI who worked with Goodman, was not a rogue private investigator.

It was only going to be a matter of time


More from Brit in the comments:

After over half a billion dollars in legal costs and settlements for the Mulcaire victims (and many cases are still in process and new victims being informed) this new conspiracy opens up the possibility of dozens, maybe hundreds, of new claimants, perhaps just as high profile or emotive as Milly Dowler, war casualties and the Royal Household.

And then there are the corporate charges. I'm told from several sources that the police, who've arrest 60 journalists now in the Murdochgate scandal, are looking to dropping charges on the lower downs for more info on the higher ups.

Given the emergence of another source of phone hacking at NOTW, it is now abundantly clear this was a corporate culture, not a few bad hacks.

(See Updates 4 and 8 below, for more from dear Brit)


A lawyer for 100+ hacking victims says today's arrests could result in a new wave of civil action against News International. From the Press Gazette:

The Met said the six had been arrested for alleged offences that took place between 2005-06 (and) that they were separate from the other offences being investigated by Operation Weeting.

Lawyer Steven Heffer said he had been informed by one client – who has already sued News International and recovered damages last year – that the police had discovered “new evidence and documents, which appears to justify an entirely new claim being made”.

Heffer added: “Under the settlement terms of the previous case there was a specific exception in the court order for any claim which might arise from new evidence which emerged at a later date.


A micro-teaser from Brit again in the comments:

* [new]  This looks very big (3+ / 0-)
I can't say more at the moment - but the suggestion that another PI was hacking for a rival dept would fit, by inference, today's arrests.

From the comments, ceebs has an excellent take on this latest:

By 2005 The big competition wasn't between NOTW and other papers, it was between different departments of the same paper, so the news departments biggest competitors weren't the Sunday Mirrorbut in fact the NOTW features department.  now we've been seeing Mulcaire as the NOTWs detective/hacker, how about though if due to interdepartmental lack of trust, he was just the News departments PI, they just wouldn't trust a PI who might leak their stories to another department, or might be spying on them for the others.  If we follow this train of thought then it is reasonable to consider that  the six arrested today are the staff of the NOTW features desk, and the  information comes from their PI and hackers records. And this will open up an entire new chain of civil cases after the current selection of Mulcaire based ones. Potentially, if the police start informing this new chain today, it could mean News International worrying about civil phone hacking claims  all the way through till 2019 when the limitation on civil claims runs out.

And indeed, the 6 are from the NotW Features Desk, as detailed in the London Evening Standard:

Scotland Yard said three men and three women were held at addresses in London and Cheshire. They are understood to be former members  of the NoW features department.


From the comments, a great catch by AnnetteK:

The Telegraph is reporting that one of the arrested is believed to be an executive:

It is understood the arrests include at least one former executive at the title that was closed in the wake of the original hacking scandal by owner Rupert Murdoch.


Thanks to tweets from BBC reporter Danny Shaw (@DannyShawBBC), we now have the names of those arrested today:

A former NoTW Assistant Editor and features editor Jules Stenson is among those arrested today for alleged #hacking
THe others arrested are: Rav Singh, Matt Nixson, Polly Graham, Rachel Richardson & Jane Atkinson #hacking
The two reporters who still work for Sun titles are Rachel Richardson (ed Fabulous) & Jane Atkinson #hacking
All six were working for features/showbiz/entertainment sections of News of the World in 2005-6 #hacking


From Brit in the comments:

Ha. Now all this is public I can talk again. Here's a revealing video. Jules Stenson accusing Nick Davies of 'shoddy journalism':



Holy shit it's getting interesting. Stephen Nott, a former witness at the Leveson Inquiry who runs the blog has been researching the 6 arrested journos and tweeting out the results, with links. Some of these 6 have sinister connections within the Murdoch empire. For example, Jane Atkinson shows up in an April, 2011 Guardian article about James Weatherup, a senior NI editor who had just been arrested for involvement in the first wave of hacking:

James Weatherup, the latest News of the World journalists to be arrested in Scotland Yard's new investigation into phone hacking, was at the heart of Andy Coulson's team when David Cameron's former media adviser was editor of the paper...As recently as last September, Weatherup had bagged a coveted front-page byline with the secretly-filmed footage of the former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton snorting lines of cocaine. He shared the exclusive with features editor Jane Atkinson and Neville Thurlbeck, the chief reporter, who was arrested last week on suspicion of conspiring to intercept mobile phone messages and later released on police bail.

That's just one example from the six. Others were promoted! Access all of Mr. Nott's juicy findings so far, here:


I just tweeted out my deepest thought so far about today's arrests:

#hackgate #dailykos The 6 arrests today suddenly make NI's MSC a laughing stock. Either they're in on the cover up or utterly incompetent!
You see, the MSC is News Intl.'s own Management and Standards Committee, established since the scandal broke, purportedly to self-police and self-investigate. From News Corp.'s own website:
London, 21 July, 2011 - News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee (MSC) has today (Thursday, July 21) published its Terms of Reference (ToR). The MSC is authorised to co-operate fully with all relevant investigations and inquiries in the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments and all other related issues across News International, as well as conducting its own enquiries where appropriate.

News Corporation hereby authorises the MSC to have oversight of, and take responsibility for, all matters in relation to the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments investigation and all other connected issues at News International (NI).

These include, but are not limited to, the police enquiries, civil proceedings, Parliamentary proceedings, Lord Justice Leveson’s public inquiry and the PCC.

The MSC shall ensure full co-operation with all relevant investigations and is authorised to conduct whatever internal investigations it thinks fit to enable it to carry out its role in relation to all NI papers.

The MSC has powers to direct full co-operation from NI personnel with all external and internal investigations and to preserve, obtain and disclose appropriate documents.

Every month or so, the MSC passes the name of some poor employee fall-guy onto Scotland Yard, and an arrest is made. How could they have missed these 6 hackmasters?

Thinking about it further, how on Earth did Rupert and James miss them too? Are we supposed to believe that the two topmost executives of N.I. were victims of a SECOND interoffice cover-up? (that was their excuse to Parliament for the first wave of hacking.)

Scotland Yard is urging anyone who believes they may have been be a victim to contact Operation Weeting via email:

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