Identity of 'computer hacker' is revealed


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The Independent Online

A man suspected of an important role in the hacking scandal was revealed yesterday to be a private investigator thought to have broken into a British intelligence agent's computer. Philip Campbell Smith is alleged to have hacked into the computer of former British intelligence officer Ian Hurst in 2006 by sending him an e-mail containing a trojan virus. The virus is said to have been programmed to copy the agent's email correspondence and send it to Smith, a report claims.

The private investigator is said to have been asked to carry out the hacking by fellow private detective Jonathan Rees, of Southern Investigations. Rees was working for the News of The World and the hacking was alleged to have been requested by Alex Marunchak, an executive on the paper. Mr Marunchak denies the claim. It was hoped that details from the computer would lead the newspaper to two agents who had informed on the IRA.

One was Freddie Scappaticci, codenamed Stakeknife, the second was known as Kevin Fulton. If their whereabouts were uncovered, their lives would have been at risk.

Smith featured in the Leveson inquiry but until now, because of the trial, he has only been known publically as "X", according to The Guardian. He can now be named after the end of a trial which ended yesterday, when he admitted possession of three rounds of ammunition.

In a separate trial, which can only now be reported, he admitted conspiring to commit fraud by obtaining illegal information – blagging – with a business partner.