You are hereHuffington Post: Phone Hacking Scandal Widens: News International Targeted Gordon Brown, BSkyB Bid Delayed

Huffington Post: Phone Hacking Scandal Widens: News International Targeted Gordon Brown, BSkyB Bid Delayed


-By Jack Mirkinson

July 11, 2011- The hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's British media empire widened dramatically on Monday, as new reports emerged that papers beyond the News of the World were also involved in serious criminal behavior. In addition, Murdoch's $12 billion bid to take over BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster, looked to be in serious peril as the government delayed it from going forward. The delay of the deal is a crushing setback for Murdoch, who wants full control of the highly lucrative company.

In the biggest revelation, multiple outlets reported that several of Murdoch's papers illegally hacked into the records of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown over a period of ten years.

According to The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC, investigators working for the News of the World, The Sun and The Sunday Times obtained information about Brown's family, his legal, his financial and his medical records. This marks the first time that any allegations about News International have targeted papers outside the News of the World.

Among the details that were reportedly obtained:

The Sun allegedly uncovered details about Brown's son, Fraser, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, when he was an infant, and wrote exclusive stories about his then-unknown illness.

According to The Guardian, Rebekah Brooks, then the editor of The Sun and currently the head of News International, phoned Brown in October 2006, telling him that her paper knew his son had cystic fibrosis. The paper then published the exclusive details.

The paper later touted its scoop, saying that it was evidence of The Sun having "set the news agenda."

In response to the allegations, News International said it was "comfortable" that the stories were obtained from legitimate sources rather than illegal activity, according to Sky News.

The Sunday Times allegedly posed as Brown to obtain his personal financial records. His bank, Abbey National, wrote to The Sunday Times charging that "someone from the Sunday Times or acting on its behalf has masqueraded as Mr Brown for the purpose of obtaining information from Abbey National by deception," according to the BBC.

The Guardian posted audio of what it said was a man who worked for the Sunday Times named Barry Beardall. In the audio, Beardall cons a woman into giving him information about the sale price of Gordon Brown's flat. "You've helped me enormously," Beardall tells her.

A spokesperson for Gordon Brown issued this statement: "Gordon Brown has now been informed of the scale of intrusion into his family's life. The family has been shocked by the level of criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained. The matter is in police hands. The police have confirmed Mr Brown is on [jailed private investigator] Glenn Mulcaire's list. And some time ago Mr Brown passed all relevant evidence he had to the police."

Brown's wife, Sarah, also spoke out on Twitter, saying, "So sad to learn all I am about my family's privacy - it is very personal and really hurtful if all true."

FULL STORY HERE: