Ian Burrell: James Murdoch's Blackberry defence is hard to swallow

 

Share
Related Topics

"Extremely telling", "a further nightmare scenario", "he wants this to hurt"; the email chain that found its way to James Murdoch on the afternoon of 7 June 2008 sounded more warning sirens than the East End in the blitz.

Yet the News International (NI) chief executive took barely two minutes to reply to the editor of the News of the World, Colin Myler. "No worries," he typed.

Yesterday it emerged that Mr Murdoch has apologised to a parliamentary committee saying that "it now appears" he was the recipient of this email – but that he had not read the critical information it contained. "Given the timing of my response, just over two minutes after Mr Myler had sent his email to me, and that I typically received emails on my BlackBerry on weekends, I am confident that I did not review the full email chain at the time or afterwards," he informed the Commons Culture Committee. Mr Murdoch repeated that he was not made "aware of evidence that either pointed to widespread wrongdoing or indicated that further investigation was necessary".

Simply scrolling down that 2008 email would have revealed as much. Linked emails from lawyers Tom Crone and Julian Pike set out the potential for corporate catastrophe at NI. Pike talked of Gordon Taylor's determination to show that hacking was "rife" in NI and to challenge the company's evidence to parliament. Crone provided detail about the crucial "For Neville" email – which Murdoch has denied being fully briefed on – and painted a "nightmare scenario" of hacking litigants beyond Taylor. There is no sign here that that Myler was trying to keep his boss in the dark.

In his appearances before MPs, a well-rehearsed James has risked his reputation as a competent executive by pleading ignorance of the events that took place around him. Here, he didn't read the email chain before meeting Myler in person three days later.

Is it credible that he couldn't be bothered to scroll down a message on the small screen of his BlackBerry? Certainly Murdoch has been consistent in his claims to have been ill-informed over hacking. But there is a line at the beginning of Myler's message, which Murdoch obviously does not deny reading, that suggests the pair had already held nervous discussions over the affair. "Unfortunately," wrote the editor, "it's as bad as we feared." No worries indeed!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The bustling Accident & Emergency ward at Milton Keynes Hospital  

The NHS needs the courage to adapt and survive

Nigel Edwards
 

Letter from the Sub-Editor: Canada is seen as a peaceful nation, but violent crime isn’t as rare as you might think

Jeffrey Simpson
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?