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

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits