CNN host Piers Morgan was editor of a British tabloid, the Daily Mirror, at a time when many British tabloid reporters were committing illegal hacking of voicemails. Morgan has vociferously denied personal involvement in or knowledge of anything like that under his watch — but a prominent political blogger claims to have a recording that proves otherwise.
“We have a recording which contradicts his recent claims,” says Paul Staines, who blogs under the name Guido Fawkes. Via email, I told Staines what I had heard, that the recording captures Morgan admitting to paying a third party to hack. “You are on the right lines,” he replied. He has not yet posted the recording.
If it delivers as advertised, it will be the first major expansion of the hacking scandal outside the confines of News Corp. So far, the only proven instances of voicemail hacking took place at the News of the World tabloid, although there have been numerous unsubstantiated claims of others. Despite Morgan’s denial, the Mirror’s parent company said it would undertake an internal investigation after a former employee, James Hipwell, was quoted saying hacking was commonplace at the paper during his tenure there, which overlapped Morgan’s.
A CNN spokeswoman declined to comment. But Morgan gave a pretty categorical denial of any wrongdoing to The New York Times over the weekend, telling the paper, “I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone. I am not aware, and have never seen evidence to suggest otherwise, that any Mirror story published during my tenure was obtained from phone hacking.”