David Leigh, Guardian Journalist, Admitted to Phone Hacking

david leigh .jpg
David Leigh
David Leigh, an assistant editor at the Guardian, admitted to hacking voicemails in an article written in 2006 that just seems to have been dug up. Leigh listened to the messages of a "corrupt arms company executive," and said his aim was to expose "bribery and corruption." Interestingly, his paper was the one that broke the empire-burning News of the World hacking scandal in the first place.

Leigh writes:

Investigative journalism is not a dinner party, particularly in a secretive country like ours where the privacy cards are stacked in favour of the rich and powerful. But it all depends on what the target is.

I've used some of those questionable methods myself over the years. I, too, once listened to the mobile phone messages of a corrupt arms company executive - the crime similar to that for which Goodman now faces the prospect of jail. The trick was a simple one: the businessman in question had inadvertently left his pin code on a print-out and all that was needed was to dial straight into his voicemail.

And it gets a bit juicier:

But we all use deception. I still treasure the moment when I rang up Mark Thatcher in Downing Street. Thatcher was secretly on the payroll of a firm trying to get a construction deal in Oman. But at the time, we could not yet prove a link between him and the Middle East fixer concerned, whose name was Jamil Amyuni. "Who's calling?" said the Downing Street switchboard. I said "Tell him it's Jamil Amyuni". In two seconds flat, Mark came on the line, and shouted cheerily "Hi, Jamil!" We had our story. Was I wrong to do that? Surely not. We were successfully exposing what many people thought was misbehaviour by the then prime minister's son, who was shamelessly exploiting his position.
A Guardian spokeswoman told Metro that "The Guardian does not and has not authorised phone hacking." Odd.

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This is silly. As much as I'd like to be able to criticize Mr Leigh (I find him repugnant-leave it at that), the examples of "deception" and Hacking outlined above were in the pursuit of genuinely news-worthy material and the targets were fair game. In fact, our laws around communications intercepts provide for this sort of thing. It's a bit of a grey area, but essentially, if the information uncovered is in the public interest (which tittle-tattle about some celeb's affairs clearly is NOT), a communications intercept is allowable. Because it's a grey area- The Guardian are unlikely to want to admit to this sort of thing or condone it, but this is often how good investigative journalism achieves results. The world is a complex place- context is everything.


The only thing odd about this is your pathetic attempt to suggest some sort of equivalence to what NI did, which involved criminal activity such as perverting the course of justice in the case of hacking the phones of murder victims. I think perhaps like NI you are confused about the difference between public interest and prurient interest. 


Oh no! That must mean the Guardian has to close down too.

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