In another sign that the phone-hacking scandal may implicate or at least taint News Corp.’s U.S. properties, the company’s legal team has asked New York Post employees to “preserve and maintain all documents and information that are related in any way” to phone hacking or bribery.
The email frames the demand as an effort to demonstrate how seriously it is taking the issues of hacking or bribery, improprieties — both confirmed adn alleged — which harpooned News Corp.’s famed British tabloid News of the World.
“Please know we are sending this notice not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful,” it reads.
However, the implication is that something illicit may have taken place. It asks that employees retain any documents “to unauthorized retrieval of phone or personal data, to payments for information to government officials, or that is related in any way to these issues.”
One possible reason is that the FBI has begun an inquiry into allegations that News Corp. newspapers hacked the phones of 9/11 victims.
As for what “documents” and “related” mean, the email asks the Post employees apply the terms as broadly as possible.
Post editor Col Allan sent out a memo to his staff regarding the email in which he says this should not be surprising.
"As we watched the news in the U.K. over the last few weeks, we knew that as a News Corporation tabloid, we would be looked at more closely," he wrote.
Allan added that all employees must cooperate absolutely and that this edict should not endanger one's ability to protect sources.
The legal team's email instructed employees to contact Genie Gavenchak with any questions. A phone call to Gavenchak's office was redirected to Rubenstein Communications. The PR firm did not immediately return a request for comment.
In related news, the Guardian is reporting that Scotland Yard has opened up another inquiry involving hacking at News of the World, this time via computers.