Rupert Murdoch’s Former Lieutenant Les Hinton Defends Testimony

The one-time chief of News Corp.’s British papers says he was unaware of the extent of phone hacking

It has been nearly four months since News. Corp's phone hacking scandal reignited, sullying its reputation, producing dozens of arrests and resignations and leading to governmental inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yet none of the company’s top executives has come any closer to admitting culpability or knowledge of widespread phone hacking at its Britsh tabloid the News of the World.

Les Hinton, a long-time lieutenant of News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, testified before the UK Parliament via videolink on Monday, defending his prior testimony in which he claimed the hacking was limited to one rogue reporter.

Hinton was the CEO of News International, News Corp.’s British publishing division and the parent company of the News of the World, while much of the hacking took place. After the first severe hacking case cropped up in 2006, Hinton oversaw an internal investigation into the matter.

However, Hinton, who left his post at News International in 2007 to become CEO of Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has sought to distance himself from any of the improprieties at the News of the World.

He told Parliament that his 2009 testimony, when he said hacking was restricted to one reporter and that the company had found no evidence of wider misconduct, was valid.

Though royals editor Clive Goodman, who later went to prison, sent him a letter stating that hacking was discussed at high-level meetings, Hinton claims the company was responsible in investigating the matter. He also said he found no evidence to support Goodman’s claims.

Hinton did resign in July as the scandal began to climb the News International ladder. However, Monday he cited the four years between these events and the present day to explain why he either could not remember certain things or would not know them.

His successor at News International, Murdoch’s son James, has been recalled to Parliament Nov. 10 after doubts were raised about testimony he gave in August. Murdoch also claimed ignorance when asked about various cases of hacking, but two former News International employees have sinced claimed Murdoch was aware of more than he let on.