Phone hacking was "widely discussed" at News of the World editorial meetings until former editor Andy Coulson banned references to it, according to a just-released letter from the paper's former royal correspondent, who was jailed over phone hacking in 2006.
In another development Tuesday, the British Parliament said it would ask several former News Corp. employees to testify next month and would write to others — including former Dow Jones CEO and Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton — to ask if they wish to amend or expand on their past testimony about the scandal.
The announcement came after the letter released Tuesday seemed to undercut Hinton's testimony.
In a letter written to News Corp. human resources four years ago to protest his firing for hacking, Clive Goodman argued that "other members of staff were carrying out the same illegal procedures" and that the practice was discussed in meetings until "explicit reference to it was banned by the Editor."
That editor, Coulson, later resigned over Goodman's hacking, and was hired as an aide to Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron has tried to distance himself from the scandal by calling for multiple investigations.
Hinton was sent a copy of Goodman's letter but failed to pass it to police, the Guardian reported. Hinton testified to parliament that he believed Goodman acted alone and had received no evidence to the contrary — despite Goodman's letter contendeding that the practice was widespread.
Hinton, who previously served as head of News International, News Corp.’s British publishing division, also led an internal investigation into allegations of hacking.