Former News of the World P.I. ordered to give up names of people who ordered phone-hacking

Joe Pompeo

Slowly but surely, investigators in Britain are starting to assemble a picture of how the recently shuttered Murdoch tabloid News of the World went about hacking the phone accounts of sources and public figures.

On Tuesday, a British parliamentary committee released a 2007 letter from News of the World's former royal correspondent alleging phone-hacking was "carried out with the full knowledge and support" of senior newsroom staff, and that the criminal practice was "widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor." Earlier accounts of the scandal tended to single out that reporter, Clive Goodman, who was jailed for several months for his actions, as the sole rotten apple in the paper's newsroom. But subsequent revelations suggest that phone hacking at the Murdoch property was far more widespread.

Now, a court has ordered Goodman's partner in crime, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire--who also did jail time--to reveal who instructed him to access the voicemails of six public figures, including model Elle MacPherson.

The Guardian reports:

Mulcaire is due to reveal these details by the end of next week in a move that will throw further light on the scale of phone hacking at the now defunct News International tabloid.

The Guardian has learned that Mulcaire has lost an attempt to appeal against a court order obliging him to identify who instructed him to hack the phones, something he has resisted since February.

Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 after pleading guilty to hacking the phones of members of the royal household for the News of the World, has been forced into making the disclosure following legal action by the comedian and actor Steve Coogan.

At the same time, James Desborough, News of the World's former Hollywood editor, is under scrutiny after being arrested Thursday. If it turns out he hijacked the phones of U.S. celebrities, that would mark the first evidence that News of the World hacked into the phones of American citizens.