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Live Coverage and Analysis of Murdoch Testimony Before Parliament
Aired July 19, 2011 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But -- oh, and there's Big Ben chiming 5:00 in the afternoon. The day has moved on quite rapidly.
And let's turn to Michael Cockerell. Michael Cockerell, the documentary -- the political documentary maker and broadcaster who has interviewed more prime ministers than you can shake a stick at.
Michael, do you think that any in the political elite will have been -- will be a little more concerned tonight or rest a little bit easier by what they've heard from the Murdochs?
MICHAEL COCKERELL, DOCUMENTARY MAKER: Well, I think for the political elite, this was a moment of truth. It was the emperor's new clothes. Poor old Rupert Murdoch. Old is the world. Here is the guy who successive prime ministers have been paying court to, have been going to his parties, inviting him to their parties, listening to everything he says.
A senior civil servant said to me, the way we would tailor advice to ministers would be to factor in what Rupert Murdoch and what News International newspapers would be saying. They were -- that was advice to ministers.
This -- you know, this was the sun king that they all worshipped at. And today, I mean, the pauses that he had before he answered questions -- Rupert Murdoch -- would have made -- would have made Harold Pinter proud, had Pinter been alive to see it. They were extraordinary. And this was -- this was the emperor who no longer had his clothes.
QUEST: OK. Now, before we come back to you, stay with me, Michael. Stay with me, Michael. I want to show -- proving that there's nothing like seeing it again and preferably when you can see it even slower. Let's have a look at the slow motion replay of the incident that took place, and you can make your own movement.
There you are. There we are. So you see James Murdoch in the middle there getting up and that gives you an idea of what happened.
And, Michael, what did you make of Rupert Murdoch and James, the body language? Some people here, and I'll say it quite openly, some people here suggested during the testimony that James Murdoch seemed out of his depth, Rupert Murdoch seemed to be out of touch.
Are we just missing the point here?
COCKERELL: I don't think we are missing the point here. I mean for -- you know, for 50 years, ever since Rupert Murdoch became a big figure in British journalism, you know, he has been the dominant figure, you know, under the influence of his father, Sir Keith Murdoch.
I was in the Panorama hospitality room 30 years ago when James Murdoch came to go on Panorama to show that he was a fit and proper person. He was the owner of the "News of the World" and the owner of "The Sun" and he wanted to take over the "Times" and he came.
And he came with his young son, age 11. It was either Blackman or James or -- I'm afraid I can't remember. But he was getting the early taste of the dynasty. And I think the dynasty is crumbling before our eyes.
QUEST: Let's talk -- stay with us, Michael. There's plenty more to talk to you about.
Let's talk to Jonathan Wald, CNN's producer who's in the room, joins me on the line.
OK. Let's have some facts, Jonathan. What actually happened?
JONATHAN WALD, CNN PRODUCER (via phone): Well, Richard, Louise Mensch was the last member of the committee to begin her questioning. I was sitting in the front row directly behind and slightly to the left of Rupert Murdoch when suddenly, someone from the back, a member of the public wearing (INAUDIBLE) and a checked shirt, walked to the front with a bag, pulled out a polystyrene plate with what seemed to be shaving foam, flashed it in the face of Rupert Murdoch.
Wendy Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's wife, jumped up immediately to his defense to try and beat back. (INAUDIBLE) who had just thrown this plate with foam on it into Rupert Murdoch's face. The man said he had thrown the plate with foam on it said, you are a greedy billionaire. The foam thrown around, it appears to be shaving foam, some of it fell on me.
QUEST: So let's be clear. Did this shaving foam hit Rupert Murdoch in the face?
WALD: Squarely in the face, yes. Everyone was a bit surprised. Nobody reacted in time. And the person who marched forward, he was a man who appeared to be in his late 20s, perhaps 30s, threw the plate with a large amount of light blue shaving foam on it and hit him squarely in the face.
QUEST: Well -- and Rupert Murdoch's wife you say was there and the woman in the pink was there, and we can see as these pictures that we're showing now, Mrs. Murdoch leaping from her seat and -- did anybody actually -- did any of the Murdochs or anybody else before the police got there apprehend or get a hand on the assailant?
WALD: Not really. He was given a pretty clear line in which to throw the plate with the foam on it into his face. There was one policeman who tried to wrestle him away as soon as he had thrown it. He got a fair share of shaving foam on himself. But by then it was too little, too late.
Murdoch was stunned, not injured. As Wendy Murdoch, who shortly afterwards was -- seemed to be in fairly good spirits. She was smiling, you know, about how quickly she was able to react to this incident.
Members of Rupert Murdoch's support team, I'm not sure whether it was a legal advisor, but also sitting in the front row, approached another policeman in astonishment asking how on earth can you let this happen?
QUEST: OK. All right. So the question begs -- this all begs the question why now? This thing has been going for two and a half hours. Frankly, there had been moments when one -- you know, could almost have fallen asleep listening to the backward and forwardness in the answers.
So why -- any indication why at this point in the proceedings, this chap decided to interrupt and cause the disturbance?
WALD: It's not clear. There was a minor disturbance at the very, very beginning of the select hearing when three protesters stood up with signs saying, Murdoch was a news criminal. They were asked to leave. So perhaps they could have waited. So there was no clear indication as to why this person who threw this plate of foam --
QUEST: OK, let's -- I'm interrupting you there, Jonathan, so that I can just describe. You see the pictures we are showing now -- just sorry to interrupt you, but these are CNN pictures of the man who has been arrested and the foam being wiped off his face. This is all taking place in a place called Portcullis House, which is just, I don't know, 100 yards or so, 150 yards from where I'm standing at Abingdon Green. As you say, a man in the checked shirt.
And I suppose the questions will be asked how he got what he got into the room, won't it, Jonathan?
WALD: Well, the security here is going to ensure that serious weapons and other more obviously threatening objects don't make their way through. It's quite possible that he could have just brought this in and it seemed as innocuous as it was on the face of it, shaving foam.
However, he obviously used it and had it prepared in this blue plastic bag that he was carrying for purposes that one wouldn't expect from -- specifically expect from shaving foam.
QUEST: All right. We shall pause there, Jonathan, because as we are talking, I see that the picture has now returned and unless I'm mistaken, the hearing is resuming. Let's rejoin the chairman, John Whittingdale. JOHN WHITTINGDALE, CHAIRMAN, BRITISH CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORTS COMMITTEE: -- answer questions for a long time. And I would like to apologize on behalf of the Committee of Parliament for the way you've been treated. And I can -- will make a report to the speaker and I assure you we will take action to try and find out how that was able to occur.
But it is extremely good of you to agree to continue the session and to allow my colleague through his magistrate to finish her questions.
RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN, CEO, NEWS CORPORATION: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
JAMES MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN, CEO, NEWS CORPORATION INTERNATIONAL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LOUISE MENSCH, BRITISH CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORTS COMMITTEE: And if I may start by saying, Mrs. Murdoch that I said on Sky News when discussing your initial appearance that it would have showed guts and leadership for you to show up today and answer questions.
And I must say I think it shows immense guts, Mr. Rupert Murdoch, for you to continue answering questions now under the circumstances, under such a lengthy conversation, and I thank you for it.
RUPERT MURDOCH: Thank you.
MENSCH: My questions will be just as tough as they would have been had this unfortunate incident not have occurred.
So Mr. James Murdoch, if I can just take you back briefly before we were so rudely interrupted to the question of the disparity between the settlements. Could you please tell me whether or not the Taylor settlement to your knowledge involved a confidentiality clause that was not present in the settlement for the last (INAUDIBLE)?
JAMES MURDOCH: I can tell you that the Taylor settlement was a confidential settlement and as to other settlements post that, and more recent settlements, some have been confidential. Some -- I believe some have been confidential, some are not. I don't believe any have been confidential settlements but I can certainly follow up as to whether or not there have been any.
It's customary to in and out of court settlement of this nature for both sides -- of both parties to agree. There's nothing unusual about an out of court settlement being made confidential and being agreed to being confidential but it was, and with respect to I think the basis of the question, which is about the disparity in the amount of money involved, there was nothing in the Taylor settlement with respect to confidentiality that spoke to the amount of money.
The amount of money was derived as I testified earlier from a judgment made about what the likely damages would be and what the likely expenses and litigation costs would have been had the company taken the litigation to its end and lost. MENSCH: Yes. You've been very clear about that. That is your explanation for the size of the settlement. I merely put it to you that an inference could be drawn if the larger settlements contained confidentiality clauses and the smaller settlements did not, that despite what you say about it being a pragmatic decision based on the costs to the company if not settling, an inference could be drawn that silence was being bought by the presence of the confidentiality clause in the larger settlements.
JAMES MURDOCH: And that inference would be false.
MENSCH: OK. Fair enough.
Many people, I think this is another bit, will find it quite hard to believe that two executives who nobody would regard as passive had such little knowledge of widespread illegality at one of your flagship papers.
Can I ask you very specifically, Mr. James Murdoch, first, when did you become aware that the phones not merely of celebrities and members of the royal family, but also victims of crime, had been hacked? When did you become aware that the phone of the murder victim Milly Dowler had been hacked?
JAMES MURDOCH: The terrible -- the terrible instance of voicemail interception around Milly Dowler case only came to my attention when it was reported in the press a few weeks ago.
MENSCH: Only when "The Guardian" reported it?
JAMES MURDOCH: It was a total -- I can tell you is a total shock. That was the first that I had heard of it and became aware of it.
MENSCH: And is that the same for hacking of other victims of crime, in other words, have you been made aware prior to the Milly Dowler story breaking that your reporters hacked into the phones of any other crime victims?
JAMES MURDOCH: No. I have not been -- I had not been made aware of that.
MENSCH: OK. And just for the record, though you answered this to my colleague Jim Sheridan earlier, but it's a very lively interest to (INAUDIBLE) in the United States the actor Jude Law is apparently alleging that his phone was hacked on U.S. soil.
Given that allegation, are you absolutely confident that no employee or contractor of News Corp or any of its properties hacked the phones of 9/11 victims? Or their families?
RUPERT MURDOCH: We have no evidence of that at all.
MENSCH: Have any credible allegations -- I see you hesitating, Mr. James Murdoch.
JAMES MURDOCH: No, I was just going to say -- sorry, I was just going to say that those are incredibly serious allegations and they have come to light very recently. We do not know the veracity of those allegations and are trying to understand precisely what they are and any investigations.
I was in -- I remember well, as all of us do, the September 11th attacks and I was in the far east living there at the time, and it is just appalling to think that anyone associated with one of our papers would have done something like that.
I'm aware of no evidence about that. We have -- I'm well aware of the allegations and will eagerly cooperate with any investigations or try to find out what went on at that time. This is very, very new allegations, just a few days old, I think, but they are very serious allegations and they would -- that sort of activity would have absolutely, you know, no place. It's just -- it would be appalling.
MENSCH: So from the information provided to you so far -- I noted Mr. Rupert Murdoch's answer was emphatic. Your answer, Mr. James Murdoch, was somewhat more nuanced. Have you received any information that gives you cause for concern that employees of News Corp or contractors of News Corp may have indulged in that kind of act?
JAMES MURDOCH: No. We have only seen -- we have only seen the allegations that have been made in the press. I think it was in "The Mirror" or something like that.
JAMES MURDOCH: And we are actively trying to -- we'd like to know exactly what those allegations are and how to understand, you know --
MENSCH: You have seen no internal documents, memos, records --
JAMES MURDOCH: Yes.
MENSCH: -- or received any verbal reports that any employee of News Corp hacked into the phone line of --
JAMES MURDOCH: No. Definitely not.
MENSCH: Thank you. And have you, as a result of a wider review, clearly this has been a shock to your corporate culture. Have you heard from any of your employees of papers in other countries that phone hacking, blocking or illegal practices may have been happening in those territories, in your Australian properties or any territory indeed when News Corp owns media properties?
Are you doing a global review and have you heard of any allegations of phone hacking in your other territories?
JAMES MURDOCH: I am not aware of any allegations in any of those territories. I haven't heard of those allegations but I would go back to the code of ethics and code of conduct that all of our colleagues at News Corporation Globally, be they journalists or management, are required to have when they join the company and are briefed on those things.
It is a matter of real seriousness. The journalistic ethics of any of the newspapers or television channels within the group, and certainly, it's something that on a global basis, you know, we want to be consistent. We want to be doing the right thing and when I say that illegal behavior has no place in this company, that goes for the whole company.
MENSCH: Mr. Rupert Murdoch, you are the chairman and chief executive of News Corp. You are the head of the global company. The buck stops with you. Given these allegations that you have said indeed when you opened this session, you said that this was the most humiliating day of your life. Given the -- sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Humble.
MENSCH: I'm sorry. I beg your pardon. That is a mistake. The most humble day of your life. You feel humbled by these events. You are ultimately in charge of the company.
Given your shock at these things being laid out before you and the fact that you didn't know anything about them, have you instructed your editors around the world to engage in a (INAUDIBLE) and broader review of their own newsrooms to be sure this isn't being replicated in other News Corp papers around the globe? And if not, will you do so?
RUPERT MURDOCH: No, but I am more than prepared to do so.
MENSCH: Thank you. One final question -- or two final questions. The first is, you touched earlier, Mr. James Murdoch, on -- very briefly you touched on the general culture of phone hacking and illegal practices that has in the past happened in this country.
If I could put a couple of things to you. Piers Morgan, who is now a celebrity anchor at CNN, who did not appear to have asked him any questions at all about phone hacking. As a former editor of the "Daily Mirror," he said in his book "The Insider" recently, and I quote, "That little trick of entering a standard four-digit code allowed anyone to call a number and hear all your messages."
In that book he boasted that using that little trick enables him to win scoop of the year on a story about Sven Goran Eriksson. So that is a former editor of "The Daily Mirror" being very open about his personal use of phone hacking.
Yesterday, in parliament Paul Dacre -- I'm sorry? And indeed, he was a former "News of the World" executive, he was boasting about a story that happened when he was the editor of "The Daily Mirror."
Yesterday, Paul Dacre of Associated newspaper said to a committee of parliament, in my view recently that "The Daily Mail" has never in its history run a story based on phone hacking or blocking in any way, yet "Operation Motor Man," of which, I'm sure, you, Mr. James Murdoch, your advisors will have made you aware. So the "Daily Mail" had 50 journalists paid for 902 pieces of information obtained by the private investigator Steve Whitmore who had been found to have used some shall we say unorthodox methods.
You told me earlier, Mr. Murdoch, that your advisors in prepping you to come before this committee had told you to simply tell the truth, which I think was excellent advice. Is it not the fact, is it not the truth of the matter that journalists at the "Daily Mail" -- I'm sorry, at the "News of the World" felt entitled to go out there and use blocking, deception and phone hacking because that was part of the general culture of corruption in the British tabloid press? And that they didn't kick it up the chain to you because they felt they were entitled to use the same methods as everybody else? Isn't that the plain fact of the matter?
JAMES MURDOCH: Miss Mensch, I am aware of those reports, the questions around other newspapers and their use of private investigators, but I think really, you know, all I can really speak to in this matter is the behaviors and the culture at the "News of the World" as we understand it, how we are trying to find out what really happened in the period in question, but also, and I think importantly, it's not for me here today to impugn other newspapers, other journalists, other things like that. You've asked us --
MENSCH: I'm asking if the "News of the World" felt inured, inured to doing -- engaging in these illegal practices, particularly phone hacking, because it was so wide in British tabloid journalism.
JAMES MURDOCH: I don't want to accept --
MENSCH: Did they not see it as evil as it was because it was so widespread?
JAMES MURDOCH: Miss Mensch, I don't accept that if a journalist on one of our papers or at a television channel or -- or Internet news operation feels that they don't have to hold themselves to a higher standard, you know, that -- I think that it's important that we don't say listen, everybody was doing it and that's why people are doing this.
At the end of the day, we have to have a set of standards that we believe in. We have to have titles and journalists who operate to the highest possible standard and we have to make sure that when they don't live up to that, that they are held to account. And that's really the focus for us.
MENSCH: Mr. Rupert Murdoch, have you considered suing Harbottle & Lewis? Have you considered suing Harbottle & Lewis?
JAMES MURDOCH: I think --
MENSCH: You have said in the past that you relied -- the reason you did not do an internal investigation, one of your first answers to the chairman, was that you relied on -- to my colleague, that you relied on the investigation by the police. The investigation by the Press Complaints Commission and the investigation undertaken by your solicitors, Harbottle & Lewis, under whose care this enormous pile of documents was found.
There's an old saying that if you want something done, you should do it yourself. In this case, you relied on three sets of people, all of whose investigations were severely lacking. Have you considered suing Harbottle & Lewis?
JAMES MURDOCH: I think any future legal claims or actions in any matter is really a matter for the future. That's not -- this really today is about how we actually make sure that these things don't happen again. So I won't comment or speculate on any future legal matters.
MENSCH: OK. The file of evidence, you were asked by my colleague, Mr. (INAUDIBLE), if you have read it yourself and you said no. Under the circumstances, where you relied on people and advisors and they have severely let your company down, do you not think, Mr. Murdoch, that perhaps both you and you, Mr. Rupert Murdoch, ought to take the time and read through everything in that file yourselves personally?
JAMES MURDOCH: For clarity, for clarity, Miss Mensch, I did say that I did read some of the contents of that. They were shown to me.
JAMES MURDOCH: And what I saw was sufficient to know that it should be -- that the right thing to do was to hand these over to the authorities to help them with their investigation.
MENSCH: I understand that, but do you not think that -- you were shown a representative sample which can be tricky. Under the circumstances and the enormous reputational damage I'm sure you'll be the first to admit has been done to News Corp, do you not think that as senior executives of the company, you should take the time and read through the entire file so that you're completely apprised of what happened and you're not relying on anybody else?
JAMES MURDOCH: I'm happy to do so. I think I've seen a bit of it.
MENSCH: OK. My last question is for you, Mr. Rupert Murdoch. You've said that your friend of 52 years, I think, Les Hinton, had stepped down and had resigned because he was in charge of the company at the time. In other words, he said he was the captain of the ship and therefore he resigned.
Is it not the case, sir, that you in fact are the captain of the ship? You are the chief executive officer of News Corp, the global corporation.
RUPERT MURDOCH: I ran a much bigger ship, but yes.
MENSCH: It is a much bigger ship, but you are in charge of it. And as you said in earlier questions, you do not regard yourself as a hands-off chief executive. You work 10 to 12 hours a day. This terrible thing happened on your watch.
Mr. Murdoch, have you considered resigning?
RUPERT MURDOCH: No.
MENSCH: Why not?
RUPERT MURDOCH: Because I feel that people I trusted, I'm not saying who, I don't know what level, have let me down and I think they behaved disgracefully, betrayed the company and me, and it's for them to pay. I think that frankly, I'm the best person to clean this up.
MENSCH: Thank you, Mr. Murdoch. And as I say, I do very much appreciate your immense courage in having seen this session through despite what the common assault that just happened to you. Thank you.
RUPERT MURDOCH: Thank you.
WHITTINGDALE: I will allow Mr. Watson a very brief question.
James, if I can call you James, sorry, to differentiate. Mr. Watson?
TOM WATSON, BRITISH CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORTS COMMITTEE: When you signed off the Taylor payment, did you see or were you made aware of the four e-mail, the transcript of the hacked voicemail message?
JAMES MURDOCH: No. I was not aware of that at the time.
WATSON: So why on earth was it -- but you paid an astronomical sum and there was no reason to.
JAMES MURDOCH: No, there was -- every reason to settle the case, given the likelihood of losing the case and given the damages that we had received counsel would be levied.
WATSON: If Taylor and Clifford are prepared to release their obligation to confidentiality, will you release them from their confidentiality clause so that we can get to the full facts of those particular cases?
JAMES MURDOCH: I cannot comment on the Clifford matter at all. I wasn't involved in that matter. As to the --
JAMES MURDOCH: As to the Taylor matter, it is a confidential agreement. I don't think it's worth exploring hypotheticals.
WATSON: The facts of this case help us get to the truth. If he removes himself from an obligation, if he allows his papers to be released will you let -- JAMES MURDOCH: Mr. Watson, it's a hypothetical scenario. I'm happy to correspond with the chairman about what specifically more you'd like to know about the settlements.
WATSON: Why would you want --
JAMES MURDOCH: Other than the detailed testimony I have given you today.
WATSON: Do you mind if I carry on with a few more questions so I can get to the end of this? Or would you want to --
WHITTINGDALE: I'm going to call a halt. I think we have covered this at some considerable length.
WATSON: Well, we haven't, actually, Chairman. We haven't. But I respect it.
Mr. Murdoch, your wife has a very good left hook.
WHITTINGDALE: Mr. Murdoch, I know you did ask if you could make a closing statement. The committee would be entirely content for you to do so.
RUPERT MURDOCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And members of the committee.
I would just like to read a short statement now.
My son and I came here with great respect for all of you, for Parliament and for the people of Britain whom you represent. This is the most humble day of my career and all that has happened, I know we needed to be here today.
James and I would like to say how sorry we are for what has happened, especially with regard to listening to the voicemail of victims of crime.
My company has 52,000 employees. I have led it for 57 years and I have made my share of mistakes. I have lived in many countries, employed thousands of honest and hard-working journalists, owned nearly 200 newspapers of very different sizes, and followed countless stories about people and families around the world.
At no time do I remember being as sickened as when I heard what the Dowler family had to endure which I think was last Monday week. Nor do I recall being as angry as when I was told that the "News of the World" could have been -- could have compounded their distress.
I want to thank the Dowlers for graciously giving me the opportunity to apologize in person. I would like all the victims of phone hacking to know how completely and deeply sorry I am. Apologizing cannot take back what has happened. Still, I want them to know the depth of my regret for the horrible invasions into their lives. I fully understand their ire, and I intend to work tirelessly to merit their forgiveness.
I understand our responsibility to cooperate with today's session as well as with future inquiries. We now know that things went badly wrong at the "News of the World." For a newspaper that held others to account, but failed when it came to itself.
Behavior -- the behavior that occurred went against everything that I stand for, and my son, too. And not only we have not only betrayed our readers and me, but also the many thousands of magnificent professionals in other divisions of our company around the world.
So let me be clear in saying invading people's privacy by listening to their voicemail is wrong. Paying police officers for information is wrong. They are inconsistent with our codes of conduct and neither has anyplace in any part of the company that I run.
Saying sorry is not enough. Things must be put right. No excuses. This is why News International is cooperating fully with the police, whose job it is to see that justice is done.
It is our duty not to prejudice the outcome of the legal process. I'm sure the committee will understand this. I wish we had managed to see and fully solve these problems much earlier. When two men were sent to prison in 2007, I thought this matter had been settled.
The police ended their investigations and I was told that News International conducted an internal review. I am confident that when James later rejoined News Corporation, he thought the case had closed, too.
These are subjects you will no doubt wish to explore and have explored today. This country has given me, our companies and our employees many opportunities. I'm grateful for them. I hope our contributions to Britain will one day also be recognized.
Above all, I hope that we will come to understand the wrongs of the past and prevent them from happening again. And in the years ahead, restore the nation's trust in our company and in all British journalism. I am committed to doing everything in my power to make this happen. Thank you.
WHITTINGDALE: Thank you. Can I, on behalf of the committee, thank you for giving up so much of your time in order to come here, and I would like to apologize again for the wholly unacceptable treatment that you received from a member of the public.
RUPERT MURDOCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all.
JAMES MURDOCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
RUPERT MURDOCH: Thank you, all members.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The committee will now break for five minutes before we move to the next part.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Right. Well, we heard the important evidence there from Rupert Murdoch. There is now going to be a short five-minute recess before the hearing will continue. That will be with Rebekah Brooks.
We expect Rupert Murdoch there. Quite clear, saying phone hacking is wrong, paying police officers is wrong, has no part in News International, no part in News Corp, and saying there will be no excuses.
(INAUDIBLE) looks at these things from a rounded point of view, from the point of view at how a company looks, did the Murdocs - did the Murdochs -- do what they needed to do to put a bit of shine back on the company, or not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think, Richard, if you look at all the comments they made over the course of the past three hours, what comes out loud and clear to me are two executives who appear profoundly out of touch. Some of the statements that we heard earlier -- I made lots of notes as you can imagine. "All news organizations use private investigators," as if that legitimizes the practice. "No, I'm not responsible for the fiasco. I trusted people."
Well, excuse me, the chief executive of a company is responsible. So Mr. Murdochs, both Mousiers Murdoch, need to own what has happened in their organization. The culture is clearly broken. There are so many other comments like that.
QUEST: Right. Let's go round, we will stay with you, Allison. Briefly, do you think now that Rebekah Brooks' task is much more difficult? She's been hung out to dry by that very statement at the end of Rupert Murdoch. Those responsible, I knew not what was happening, he says, but there were those who were responsible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's everyone's fault --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's -- one of the things that's interesting about this situation, Richard, is if you think about Miss Brooks' history, she is born and bred within the stable of News International. So, in terms of propagating a culture that is abiding by these codes of ethics we have heard countless times over the course of the last few hours, there are processes, there are codes of conduct, there are rules. But actually, where has the enforcement actually been made to make sure those rules are abided by by senior leaders in this business?
And from what I've heard today, I can't actually say that the company is showing evidence of that.
QUEST: Jeffrey, let me turn to you briefly. For our viewers in the United States, on the 9/11 question, Murdoch quite clear about nothing happened. But James Murdoch, far more equivocating on that. I don't have any information about that, we're looking into that. Do you think that what they said about 9/11 victims will be pacified today?
JEFFREY ROBERTSON, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: No. Not at all. Because their strategy today, Rupert Murdoch's strategy was to say, "I saw no evil, I heard no evil, everyone lied to me, I was kept in the dark. This is just one percent of my vast corporation, I'm not responsible. Everyone else is responsible, I'm not."
So the question becomes live, did Glenn Mulcare who hacked into the relatives' phones of their sons killed in Afghanistan, killed in terrorist operations, it would seem to make sense that at this time, logically, he might well have hacked in to the 9/11 relatives or at least the British relatives of 9/11 to get a grief story. Not a public interest story, but a grief story.
Now, the stance that Rupert Murdoch took, and this was the most important thing, as I've said, they've admitted to paying Glenn Mulcare and they may still be paying him, the man who did this. They've got to look at their contract with Mr. Mulcare. He's the man who can say yes or no, that he did or did not hack into the phones of 9/11 victims. And he's the man who the Murdochs themselves, when confronted briefly in the one shaft of light in this hearing, said maybe we're still paying him, maybe he's still on contract. Ask him. Let him go public. Let him tell the world and tell America immediately whether he did that dreadful thing.
No more dreadful than the other things that he did do of hacking into 9/11 as well as to other parents of terrorist victims. Let the Murdochs put him on the stand now.
QUEST: Jeffrey, we'll pause there. (INAUDIBLE) I hear what you're saying. We will pause there just for a moment and say to our viewers in the United States, thank you for joining us in London for the evidence of Rupert Murdoch and his son, James Murdoch. And obviously, there will be much more on CNN USA in the hours ahead.
(END SIMULCAST COVERAGE)
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: And it's been a fascinating afternoon of questioning in London. We will reset here in the States. Be back with analysis, some reaction to what you've just heard and also other news of the day right after this.
GRIFFIN: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of the News Corp hacking scandal. It's mostly taking place in London, where a hearing took place in Parliament before a Parliament committee, specifically the culture, media and sports committee.
We have a committee of our own who has been analyzing what has been going on there. Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joining us from New York. And also Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" and a media analyst for CNN. Gentlemen, we will talk about the testimony in a second, but first, the drama which came right towards the end of this hearing, when there was a disruption, and this took place. A man apparently carrying a Styrofoam plate and shaving cream, plastered it directly on the face of Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the corporation. I guess, Jeffrey, the question that everyone is asking in that room, how? How did this happen?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, one of the themes of this story is the incompetence of Scotland Yard. The head of Scotland Yard has left, the deputy to Scotland Yard has left and the incompetence of London's authorities was very much on display in that hearing room.
There are only 50 seats in that room. That's not Wembley Stadium. That's not Yankee Stadium. That is a small room. And the idea that the authorities there could not keep an assault -- and that's what this was, an assault -- from taking place is just completely outrageous. And the people who run Parliament security ought to be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
GRIFFIN: And you mentioned this isn't Wembley Stadium but the man in custody getting his face wiped by the police looks like he was attending a sporting event. Certainly stood out from the suits and the business attire that we saw. We know from our producer in the room that this man came from the back of the room, had a bag, opened up the bag. This all taking place while everybody watched. It seems inconceivable that that could happen.
TOOBIN: You know, all of us in the United States are unhappily used to going through metal detectors, having people check our belongings. But if there was ever a room where the police should have taken the time to investigate people carrying large bags -- and again, there were only 50 seats in that room - I mean, the incompetence and real danger that people were exposed to here is breathtaking.
You know, people talk about the pie in the face as if it's a joke and Bill Gates has had a pie in the face. This is very serious stuff. A pie in the face could easily be a knife, could easily be a brick, and you know, Rupert Murdoch's an 80-year-old man. I mean, I just think this was completely scandalous and outrageous that the people who run Parliament allowed this to take place.
GRIFFIN: And we'll certainly be hearing about his very young wife, who stood up to his defense and actually took a swat at this guy. We'll be hearing about that later.
Let's get to the testimony itself, and I want to keep you, Jeffrey, just for a second to talk about legalese. Whether or not this scandal that has been mostly in the UK comes to the U.S., and the question is were 9/11 victims hacked? Was Jude Law, the actor, hacked on American soil? The answers given were a little, I thought, nuanced.
TOOBIN: Yes. The theme of both James and especially Rupert Murdoch's testimony was, "We are outraged, we had no idea this was going on."
So, in terms of the question, were 9/11 victims hacked, was Jude Law hacked, was the same answer. "Well, we don't think so. We certainly didn't approve it. But if it did, we didn't know about it." The theme of this testimony was ignorance of all wrongdoing. And frankly, I didn't think the members of Parliament were very successful in breaking down that defense. I thought the questioning was as bad as the typical congressional hearing, and that's pretty bad.
GRIFFIN: All right -- Howard, Jeffrey, hold on one second. I apologize. But that questioning, bad as it may be, is back underway. This, Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the newspaper in question.
(BEGIN LIVE COVERAGE - JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- systemic corporate illegality by News International. Would you accept now that that is not correct?
REBEKAH BROOKS, FORMER EDITOR, "NEWS OF THE WORLD": Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Firstly, just before I answer that question, I would like to add my own personal apologies to the apologies that James and Rupert Murdoch have made today. Clearly, what happened at "The News of the World" and certainly when the allegations of voice intercepts, voicemail intercepts of victims of crime is pretty horrific and abhorrent. And so, I just wanted to reiterate that.
I also was very keen to come here and answer questions today. And as you know, I was arrested and interviewed by the police a couple of days ago. So, I have legal representation here just so I don't impede those criminal proceedings, which you would expect. But I intend to answer everything as openly as I can and not to use that if at all possible. And I know you all had a briefing around the same.
WHITTINGDALE: Well, we are grateful for that. So perhaps I could invite you to comment on whether or not you now accept that the statement (INAUDIBLE) saying that "News of the World" journalists had not accessed voicemails or indeed instructed investigators to do so is actually untrue.
BROOKS: Well, again, as you've heard over the last few hours, the fact is that since the Sienna Miller civil documents came into our possession the end of December 2010, that was the first time that we, at the senior management of the company at the time, had actually seen some documentary evidence actually relating to a current employee. I think that we acted quickly and decisively then when we had that information. As you know, it was our document -- our evidence that opened up the police inquiry in 2011, in January.
And since then, we have admitted liability on the civil cases, endeavored to settle as many as possible. We've appointed Sir Charles Gray (ph) so that victims of phone hacking, if they feel they want to come directly to us and don't want to incur expensive legal costs, they can come directly and be dealt with very swiftly. As you know, the court process is taking its time and those cases aren't going to be heard until I think January 2012. So the compensation scheme is there in order for people to come forward. So I'm -- of course there were mistakes made in the past, but I think, and I hope that you will agree since we saw the evidence at the end of December, we've acted properly and quickly.
WHITTINGDALE: So until you saw the evidence which was produced in the Sienna Miller case, you continued to believe that the only person in the "News of the World" who had been implicated in phone hacking was Clive Goodman?
BROOKS: Well, I think if you -- if you -- just the sequence of events. So in 2009, I think was the first time that all of us, and I know some members of the committee spent a long time on this story and looking at the whole sequence of events, so I know you all know it pretty well. But just to reiterate, in 2009, when we heard about when the Gordon Taylor story appeared in "The Guardian," I think that that's when information unraveled, but very, very slowly.
I mean we have -- we had conducted many internal investigations. I know you spent a lot of time talking to James and Rupert Murdoch about it. But we had been told by people at the "News of the World" at the time had consistently denied any of these allegations in various internal investigations. And it was only where we saw the Sienna Miller documentation that we realized that -- the severity of the situation. And just to point out, one of the problems of this case has been our lack of visibility on what was seized by (INAUDIBLE) at (INAUDIBLE) home. We've had zero visibility. Part of the drip-drip effect of this is because we only see it during a civil procedure and (INAUDIBLE) accordingly.
WHITTINGDALE: But it is now your view, on the basis of that evidence, that certainly you were lied to by senior employees?
BROOKS: Well, I think, unfortunately, because of the criminal procedure, I'm not sure that it's possible for me to infer guilt until those criminal proceedings have taken place.
WHITTINGDALE: I understand (ph).
TOM WATSON, BRITISH CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT CMTE.: There are many questions I would like to ask you, but I won't be able to do it today because you are facing criminal proceedings. So I'm going to be narrow in my questioning. When did you sack Tom Crone?
BROOKS: We didn't sack Tom Crone. What happened with Tom Crone was, when we made the very regrettable decision to close "The News of the World" after 168 years, Tom Crone has predominantly been "The News of the World" lawyer. His face is (INAUDIBLE) legal manager. Because of the situation at "The News of the World," he predominantly spent most of his time, in fact, pretty much 99 percent of his time on "The News of the World." The rest of the company and the rest of the titles had individual -- had -- we had appointed new lawyers and there wasn't a job for Tom once we closed "The News of the World" and he left.
WATSON: Someone's still dealing with "The News of the World" legal cases, though.
BROOKS: What? Sorry?
WATSON: Someone is still dealing with "The News of the World" legal cases, though, presumably?
BROOKS: Yes. I mean the civil cases are being dealt with by, like I said, the first one is the standards management committee that we set up. And you've seen the announcements on that recently. And I won't go over it. I know James and Rupert have talked about it.
But also, Fariss (ph), who's been doing the civil cases all along, we've got some tech (ph) cases coming up before the judge in January and there are people dealing with it. But Tom Crone's role was as the -- was a hands-on legal manager at "The News of the World." And, obviously, when we closed the paper, there wasn't a job there.
WATSON: Not a job. I must have misunderstood what James Murdoch said. He implied that you sacked him. But I might b e -- it's been a busy day.
As a journalist and editor of "News of the World" and "The Sun," how extensively did you work with private detectives?
BROOKS: I think on "The Sun," not at all. When I was editor of "The News of the World," as you know, I came before this committee just as I became editor of "The Sun" in relation to what price (ph) privacy and Operation Motorman, as it's called. And I think back then we answered extensively questions about the use of private detectives across Fleet Street. As you know, a chart was published of which I can't remember where "The News of the World" was on it. I think it was fourth. I think "The Sun" on the table was below "Take A Break" magazine. But certainly, the top five was "The Observer," "The Guardian," "The News of the World," "The Daily Mail" --
WATSON: So to answer my question --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chairman, can I just instruct -- I'll declare, I used to work for "The Observer," but not -- but left in 2001. "The Observer" was not in the top four.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
BROOKS: Maybe top six then.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Observer" was not four (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So just --
BROOKS: But it was on the table.
WATSON: Just to answer my question, you extensively worked with private investigators, is that the answer?
BROOKS: No, I said -- what I said was that the use of private detectives in the late '90s and 2000 was a practice of Fleet Street and after Operation Motorman at what price privacy at Fleet Street actually reviewed this practice and in the main, the use of private detectives was stopped. Don't forget, at the time, as you are aware, it was all about the data protection. The Data Protection Act and changes to that which were made.
BROOKS: And that's why we had the committee in 2003.
WATSON: So just for the third time, how extensively did you work with private detectives?
BROOKS: "The News of the World" employed private detectives like most newspapers in Fleet Street.
WATSON: So it's fair to say that you were aware of and approved payments to private detectives?
BROOKS: I was aware that "News of the World" used private detectives in -- under my editorship of "The News of the World," yes.
WATSON: And so you would have approve payments to them?
BROOKS: That's not how it works, but I was aware that we used them.
WATSON: Who would have approved the payments?
BROOKS: So the payment system in a newspaper, which has been discussed at length, is very simply the editor's job is to acquire the overall budget for the paper from the senior management. Once that budget is acquired, it is given to the managing editor to allocate to different departments. Each person in that department has a different level of authorization. But the final payments are authorized by the managing editor, unless there is a particularly big item, a set of photographs or something that needs to be discussed on a wider level, then the editor will be brought in.
WATSON: So Sheila Cutner (ph) would have discussed some payments to private detectives with you?
BROOKS: Not necessarily, no. I mean we're talking 11 years ago. I -- he may have discussed payments to me, but I don't particularly remember any incidents.
WATSON: You don't remember whether you would have discussed any payments at all?
BROOKS: No, I didn't say that. I said in relation to private detectives.
BROOKS: I was aware "The News of the World" used private detectives, as every paper on Fleet Street did.
WATSON: So you don't recall whether you authorized payments or told (INAUDIBLE) --
BROOKS: The payments of those -- the payments of private detectives would have gone through the managing editor's office.
WATSON: You can't remember whether Cutner ever discussed it with you?
WATSON: You can't remember whether Sheila Cutner ever discussed it with you?
BROOKS: I can't remember if we ever discussed an individual payment. No.
WATSON: OK. In your letter to us in 2009, you said that you did not recall meeting Glenn Mulcaire. You will appreciate that this is an inadequate answer under the circumstances if we require a specific response to our questions. Did you ever have any contact, directly or through others, with Glenn Mulcaire?
BROOKS: None. None whatsoever.
WATSON: Would your former diary secretary, Michelle, be able to confirm that?
WATSON: Former diary secretary?
BROOKS: I've had a P.A. for 19 years called Sharon (ph).
WATSON: OK. Well, would your diary secretary, your P.A. would be able to confirm that?
WATSON: Does she hold your diary for the last 19 years?
BROOKS: No, she probably doesn't. We don't keep back 19 years. But she will have -- I mean she may have something back from then, I don't know.
WATSON: Would it be in a paper format or an electronic format?
BROOKS: I never met -- I did not meet Mr. Mulcaire.
WATSON: I'm talking about your diary. Is it in electronic format or a paper format?
BROOKS: It would have been on a paper format until very recently.
WATSON: OK. Do you think Glenn Mulcaire would deny that he ever met you?
BROOKS: I'm sure he would. Although, I mean -- yes. It's the truth.
WATSON: OK. Were you aware of the arrangement News Group newspapers had with Mulcaire while you were editor of "The News of the World" and "The Sun"?
WATSON: So you didn't know what he did.
BROOKS: I didn't know particularly Glenn Mulcaire was one of the detectives that was used by "The News of the World," no.
WATSON: You didn't know he was on the payroll?
BROOKS: No. In fact, I first heard Glenn Mulcaire's name in 2006.
WATSON: Did you receive any information that originated from Glenn Mulcaire or his methods?
BROOKS: What, to me?
BROOKS: To me personally?
WATSON: You as editor. Did anyone bring you information as a result of Glenn Mulcaire's methods?
BROOKS: I mean I know it's an entirely appropriate question, but I can only keep saying the same answer. I didn't know Glenn Mulcaire had a -- I'd never heard the name until 2006. There were other private investigators that I did know about and had heard about, but he wasn't one of them.
WATSON: We'll (INAUDIBLE) to them. Now that you know what you know, do you suspect that you might have received information on the basis of stuff gathered by Glenn Mulcaire?
BROOKS: Well, now I know what I know is that, I mean, this is one of the difficulties. Obviously I know quite an extensive amount now, particularly the last six months of investigating this story. And Glenn Mulcaire, I'm aware, worked on and off for "The News of the World" I think in the late '90s and continued through until 2006, when he was arrested. So, obviously, if he worked for "The News of the World" for that time, he was involved.
And I think, -- I think the judge said in 2007, which again we may disagree with that now, but the judge said in 2007 when Glenn Mulcaire was convicted, that he had a perfectly legitimate contract with "The News of the World" for research and investigative work. And the judge said that I think quite repeatedly throughout the trial. So that's what I can tell you.
WATSON: Did you ever have any contact directly or through others with Jonathan Rees?
WATSON: Do you know about Jonathan Rees?
BROOKS: I do. Again, I heard a lot recently about Jonathan Rees. I watched the panorama program, as we all did. He wasn't -- he wasn't a name familiar with me. I am told that he rejoined "The News of the World" in 2005, 2006, and he worked for "The News of the World" and many other newspapers in the late 1990s. That's my information.
WATSON: Do you find it peculiar that having served sentence for a serious criminal offense, he was then rehired by the paper?
BROOKS: It does seem extraordinary.
WATSON: Do you know who hired him?
BROOKS: No, I don't.
WATSON: Do you know who signed his contract?
BROOKS: No. Sorry.
WATSON: Have you been conducting an investigation for six months, did you not take the time to find out?
BROOKS: The investigation that we've been conducting in the six months has been particularly around the interception of voicemails, as you know. We are -- the managements and standards committee at News International are going to look at Jonathan Rees and we already do have some information. But as to the conclusion of that investigation, I do not know.
WATSON: What information do you have?
BROOKS: We have information that, as I said, that Jonathan Rees worked for newspapers, many newspapers on Fleet Street in the late '90s, and then he was rehired by "The News of the World" sometime in 2005.
WATSON: Do you know what he was doing at that time?
BROOKS: I don't. I'm sorry, no.
WATSON: Did you not ask?
BROOKS: Well, I was the editor of "The Sun" at the time. I didn't know they'd rehired him. I only found that out recently.
WATSON: When you were chief executive of the company, did you not wonder what he did in 2005-2006 given that you've got a hacking scandal breaking around you? BROOKS: Absolutely. And I've had the information that panorama have, that Jonathan Rees worked as a private investigator in the panorama program. It said that he was conducting many, many illegal offenses. That's what I saw, like you did. But also I -- he used to work for Panorama. He worked for many newspapers, presumably before his conviction, as you say, and then he was rehired by "The News of the World."
WATSON: Do you believe he conducted illegal activities on behalf of "News of the World"?
BROOKS: I can only comment on what I know. And I don't know that.
WATSON: What is your belief?
BROOKS: I don't know.
WATSON: You don't know what he did?
BROOKS: I don't know what he did for "The News of the World." I'm sorry, I don't know what he did.