British PM’s Former Aide Arrested in Hacking Scandal

Posted July 8th, 2011 at 6:50 am (UTC-5)
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British police say the prime minister's former communications chief has been arrested by detectives investigating corruption allegations of telephone hacking at the News of the World tabloid.

Andy Coulson, the former editor the News of the World, was arrested Friday.

Earlier Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for a full public inquiry into the telephone hacking by the newspaper. Mr. Cameron described the scandal as “disgusting,” “disgraceful,” and despicable.”

The prime minister said a second inquiry will be established to look at the “culture and ethics” of the British press. Mr. Cameron said it is important for the British press to be free, but not above the law.

On Thursday, the News International company said it is shutting down the News of the World, following the hacking revelations, with victims ranging from celebrities, politicians and murder victims.

News International is owned by Australian-American media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The phone hacking scandal has intensified with reports that relatives of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were among those targeted.

The reports also say investigators believe News of the World staff may have bribed police officers for information about those victims.

The latest allegations follow outrage over reports the tabloid also may have intercepted voicemails sent to the phones of murder victims and their families. Those suspected to have been targeted include several schoolgirls murdered in 2002 and relatives of victims of the 2005 London transport bombings.

The phone hacking allegations against News of the World trace back several years. In 2007, a News of the World reporter and a private investigator hired by the paper were jailed for intercepting the mobile phone messages of British royal officials.