Met Police probing potential Official Secrets Act violations by the Guardian

The Guardian’s legal problems and ethical breaches continue to pile up. 

As we reported on Sept. 7, Guardian journalist, Amelia Hill, who was leading the coverage of the phone-hacking scandal for the Guardian, was placed under caution and questioned by police at Scotland Yard over alleged leaks from police.

It was thought that the questioning of Ms Hill, who broke a string of exclusives surrounding the phone hacking probe, was linked to the arrest earlier this month of a 51-year-old detective on suspicion of leaking information to the newspaper.

It was claimed she published information based on leaks from the detective assigned to the inquiry into the phone hacking probe centered on Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.

Now, per the BBC:

Scotland Yard is trying to force the Guardian to reveal the sources behind its story about the phone hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler [one of the phone hacking scandals which forced News of the World’s closure].

The Met Police said it was probing potential Official Secrets Act breaches and misconduct…

It confirmed it had applied for a production order against the Guardian and one of its reporters [reportedly, Amelia Hill].

Further:

[Police are] claiming that the Official Secrets Act could have been breached in relation to the original article on the hacking of Milly Dowler’s mobile phone voicemail.

…police were due to go to the Old Bailey in London on 23 September, in an attempt to force the handover of documents relating to sources for a number of articles.

Section 5 of the 1989 Official Secrets Act allows prosecutions for passing on “damaging” information leaked to them by government officials in breach of section 4 of the same act, including police information “likely to impede … the prosecution of suspected offenders”.

The recent police inquiry comes on top of a revelation back in August that Guardian investigations executive editor, David Leigh, admitted (in a 2006 piece at the Guardian) that he routinely engaged in phone hacking. Remarkably, Leigh is still reporting on the phone hacking scandal which ensnared News of the World for the Guardian, and even filed a report yesterday on the latest news of the police investigation into his paper.

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Leigh (the brother-in-law of Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger) was also heavily criticized for negligently disclosing top-secret WikiLeaks’ decryption passwords, thus enabling public access to hundreds of thousands of unredacted unpublished US diplomatic cables.  

Leigh’s breach was even criticized by one prominent far left blogger as an act of malfeasance which literally put lives (including whistleblowers and human rights activists) in serious danger.

Rusbridger responded to the latest revelation, that his paper was being investigated for possible violations of the Official Secrets Act, by criticizing the police investigation as “heavy-handed” and “vindictive – words which, it seems, could also reasonably characterize the Guardian’s sanctimonious, ferocious, and zealous coverage of the original phone hacking scandal involving the paper’s rival, Rupert Murdoch. 

 

 

 

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